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Full text of "Preliminary amphibian and reptile survey of the Helena National Forest : 1995 : a report to USDA Forest Service"

Preliminary 
Amphibian and Reptile Surrey 

of the 

Helena National Forest: 1995 



A Report to: 

USDA Forest Service 

Helena National Forest 
2880 Skyway Drive 
Helena, MT 59601 



Submitted by 

JAMES D. REICHEL 

March 1996 

Montana Natural Heritage Program 
1515 East Sixth Avenue 

P.O. Box 201800 
Helena, MT 59620-1800 



© 1996 Montana Natural Heritage Program 



His document should be cited as follows: 

Reichel, J. D. 1996. Preliminary amphibian and reptile survey of the Helena National Forest: 1995. Montana 
Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 87 pp. 



ll 



ABSTRACT 

A total of 44 surveys and several additional sightings were made in the Helena National 
Forest (HNF) between May and August 1995. Localized areas across the entire forest were 
covered in the survey. Surveys of ponds, lakes, seeps, streams or other wetlands, made by 1 or 2 
individuals. Each survey took 10-150 person-minutes and consisted of a thorough search of the 
wetland perimeter and netting of near shore aquatic habitats for adults, eggs, larvae, and tadpoles. 
Stream sampling was done by hand and dipnet. Seeps were checked by rolling over rocks and 
logs in and near wet areas. In addition to surveys, sightings were made from road kills, vocal 
identifications, or fortuitous sightings by other reliable individuals. 

Four amphibians are present on the HNF: Long-toed Salamander (Amhystoma 
macrodactylum), Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei), Western Toad (Bufo boreas), and Spotted Frog 
(Ranapretiosa). The Spotted Frog was the most widespread amphibian throughout the forest. 
The Tailed Frog has been reported from a single location on the Lincoln District. Long-toed 
Salamanders were found throughout the main Rocky Mountain chain and in the Elkhorn 
Mountains. The Western Toad was found in very few locations on the HNF in 1 995, all in the 
main Rocky Mountain chain. Historically it has been reported in the Big Belt Mountains; 
however it was not found there during our surveys. This is consistent with the apparent region- 
wide declines in this species. Four other prairie-inhabiting amphibians have been reported in the 
area, though in some cases well away from HNF lands; these include the Western Chorus Frog 
(Pseudacris triseriata), Woodhouse's Toad {Bufo woodhousii), Plains Spadefoot (Scaphiopus 
bombifrons), and Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens). The Western Chorus Frog is common 
in prairie ponds to the north and east of HNF lands; two reports were received for the Helena 
National Forest, but need confirmation. A tadpole reported to be a Woodhouse's Toad is present 
at the Montana State University Museum; given the difficulty in identifying toad tadpoles and 
distance from known sites, this should be treated as hypothetical until verified. The Plains 
Spadefoot is known from the Helena Valley, but has yet to be found in the HNF. A report was 
received of a Northern Leopard Frog from the vicinity of McDonald Pass; given the distance 
from other known locations and unusual habitat, this report should be treated as hypothetical 
until verified. The Northern Leopard Frog was also reported historically from several prairie 
areas, outside and at lower elevations than HNF lands. The Deepdale Fishing Access Site had 
frogs as recently as 1994, however three surveys in 1995 failed to relocate them. Northern 
Leopard Frogs are nearly extirpated from western Montana, and recent evidence indicates a 
decline elsewhere in Montana (except perhaps the southeast corner). 

Ten reptiles have been reported from near the HNF, but only three have been definitely 
reported from on the forest: the Racer {Coluber constrictor), Western Terrestrial Garter Snake 
(Thamnophis elegans) and Common Garter Snake {Thamnophis sirtalis). All were reported in 
the main Rocky Mountains. The Racer and Western Terrestrial Garter Snake also were found in 
the Big Belt Mountains and there is a record of the Common Garter Snake from the Elkhom 
Mountains. The following reptiles have been reported in the area and may eventually be found 
on lower elevation HNF lands: Painted Turtle {Chrysemys picta), Spiny Softshell {Trionyx 
spinifera), Short-homed Lizard {Phrynosoma douglasi), Rubber Boa {Charina bottae), Milk 
Snake {Lampropeltis trianguium), Gopher Snake {Pituophis catenifer), and Western Rattlesnake 



111 



(Cmtalus viridis). The Painted Turtle has been recorded just off the HNF on the east side of the 
Elkhom Mountains. The Spiny Softsheil is present in large rivers at lower elevations; it has been 
reported from Canyon Ferry Reservoir, but there is no recent confirmation. Both the Short- 
homed Lizard and Milk Snake are present in the area near Three Forks, south of the HNF. The 
Rubber Boa has been recorded just off the HNF south of Helena and near Granite Butte; it surely 
occurs on the HNF. The Gopher Snake has been reported from the intermountain valleys, as 
close as % A mile from the HNF. The Western Rattlesnake also has been recorded just off the 
HNF; with several records at lower elevations, it probably will eventually be found on the HNF 
lands. 



IV 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

ABSTRACT Ill 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS vll 

INTRODUCTION ............................................................. 1 

METHODS AND MATERIALS 2 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 3 

Species known to be present on the Helena National Forest .......................... 6 

Long-toed Salamander (Amhystoma macrodactylum) 6 

Tailed Frog {Ascaphus truef) 8 

Western Toad (Bufo boreas) 10 

Spotted Frog {Rana pretiosa) 12 

Racer {Coluber constrictor) 14 

Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans) 16 

Common Garter Snake {Thamnophis sirtalis) 18 

Species Potentially Present on the Helena National Forest 20 

Western Chorus Frog {Pseudacris triseriata) .20 

Woodhouse's Toad {Bufo woodhousii) ........... 22 

Plains Spadefoot {Scaphiopus [=Spea] bombifrons) ............................ 24 

Northern Leopard Frog {Rana pipiens) 26 

Painted Turtle {Chrysemys picta) 28 

Spiny Softshell {Trionyx spiniferus) {=Apalone spinifera) .... .30 

Short-horned Lizard {Phrynosoma douglasi) .... 32 

Rubber Boa {Charina bottae) 34 

Milk Snake {Lampropeltis triangulum) 36 

Gopher Snake {Pituophis catenifer [=melanoleucus]) .................... . , 38 

Western Rattlesnake {Crotalus viridis) '. 40 

Regional Information . . 41 

Rocky Mountain chain 41 

Elkhom Mountains 41 

Big Belt Mountains ....... 42 

Dry Range ............................................................ 42 

RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................... 43 

Surveys, Monitoring and Research ............................................ 43 

Management .............................................................. 44 

BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................ 45 



Appendix 1. Data Sheets used for Reptiles and Amphibian Surveys and Observations ...... 59 

Appendix 2. Sites surveyed during 1995 amphibian and reptile surveys .................. 61 

Appendix 3. Amphibians and reptiles observed during surveys on or near the Helena National 
Forest in 1995 64 

Appendix 4. Amphibians and reptiles reported from in and around the Helena National Forest 
66 

Appendix 5. Notes on harlequin surveys and examination of potential northern bog lemming 
habitat on the Helena National Forest. S3 

Appendix 6. Heritage program species ranking definitions 85 



VI 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

1 would like to thank the staff from the Helena National Forest for their assistance in 
determining the location of possible survey sites, information on herp observations, field 
assistance, and other support; they included Quinn Carver, Brent Costain, Doug Grupenhoff, 
Archie Harper, Shane Hendrickson, Connie Jacobs, Barry Paulson, Melanie Scott, and Len 
Walch. D. D. Dover, J. Hinshaw, C. Jones, and K. Jurist assisted with field work, data entry, and 
map preparation. Financial support for the project came from the Helena National Forest (U.S. 
Forest Service, Northern Region) and the Montana Natural Heritage Program (Montana State 
Library, Natural Resources Information System and The Nature Conservancy). 

Museum records were received from: American Museum of Natural History, Academy of 
Natural Science, Bingham Young University, California Academy of Science, Carnegie Museum, 
University of Puget Sound Museum, Field Museum of Natural History, Glacier National Park 
Museum, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Kansas, Los Angeles County Museum, 
Louisiana State University Museum of Zoology, Museum of Comparative Zoology - Harvard, 
Milwaukee Public Museum, Montana State University Museum, Michigan State University 
Museum, North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Northern Louisiana University 
Museum, University of Colorado Museum, University of Georgia Museum of Natural History, 
University of Idaho Museum, University of Michigan Museum, University of Montana Museum, 
University of South Dakota, United States National Museum of Natural History, University of 
Texas - Arlington, University of Texas - El Paso, Peabody Museum - Yale, University of 
California-Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and Mid-continental Ecological Sciences 
Center at University of New Mexico Museum of Southwestern Biology. Much of the museum 
data was received with the help of Dr. Charles Peterson, Idaho State University, Pocatello. 



VII 



INTRODUCTION 

Many amphibians are apparently declining in the western U.S. and world-wide (Com and 
Fogelman 1984, Phillips 1994, Yoflfc 1992). Acid rain, ozone depletion, pollution by toxic 
chemicals and heavy metals, predation and/or competition by exotic species, habitat alteration, 
climate change, disease, immune system problems, and some combination of these factors have 
all been suggested as possible causes (Blaustein et al. 1994a, 1994b; Com and Fogelman 1984; 
Phillips 1994; Yoffe 1992). 

Bass and non-native trout have been introduced into waters on or near the Helena National 
Forest (HNF) and have been implicated in declines of native amphibian populations in some 
areas. Past forestry practices and large scale logging continue to be detrimental to resident 
herpetofauna (Bury et al 1 99 1 ). The Tailed Frog {Ascaphus truei), present on the HNF, is 
thought to be one of the most sensitive indicators of stream-side and aquatic community health in 
forested landscapes (R. B. Bury, pers. comm.). Preliminary data indicate the Northern Leopard 
Frog (Rana pipiens) has disappeared over much of its former range in western Montana and is 
declining in at least some areas of eastern Montana (Hendricks and Reichel in review; Reichei 
1995a, 1995b; Werner and Reichel 1994, 1996). The US Fish and Wildlife Service now lists the 
Western Toad (Bufo boreas) as a Candidate (C-l) species in Colorado, Wyoming and New 
Mexico. Apparent declines have recently been reported in northern Idaho (C. Peterson pers. 
comm.), northwest Montana (Reichel and Flath 1995; Werner and Plumber 1995; Werner and 
Reichel 1994, 1996), Yellowstone National Park (Koch and Peterson 1995), Wyoming, and 
Colorado (Carey 1993). 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed two Montana amphibians and two reptiles as 
Candidate (C2) species: the Spotted Frog (Ranapretiosa), Tailed Frog, Short-horned Lizard 
(Phrynosoma douglasi) and Northern Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus graciosus). The 
U.S. Forest Service Region 1 lists the Coeur d'Alene Salamander (Plethodon idahoensis) as 
"Sensitive" and is considering adding several other amphibians. The Montana Natural Heritage 
Program and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks list 6 amphibians [Coeur 
d'Alene Salamander, Idaho Giant Salamander {Dicamptodon aterrimus), Tailed Frog, Canadian 
Toad (Bufo hemiophrys), Spotted Frog, Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)] and 7 reptiles [Snapping 
Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus), Short-horned Lizard, 
Sagebrush Lizard, Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus), Smooth Green Snake 
(Opheodrys vernalis), Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)] as species of special concern in 
the state. The Northern Leopard Frog and Western Toad are being considered for addition to the 
species of special concern list; currently they on the watch list. Seven of these species, the Tailed 
Frog, Western Toad, Spotted Frog, Northern Leopard Frog, Spiny Softshell, Short-homed Lizard, 
and Milk Snake occur or potentially occur on the HNF. 



METHODS AND MATERIALS 

Historic locations of amphibians and reptiles were recorded from literature (see 
Bibliography) and museum specimen records. Records were received from over 20 major 
museum collections in North America (see Acknowledgments). Locations derived from these 
sources have been entered into a database and digitized. 

Survey sites were chosen based on 4 criteria: 1) high priority sites as determined by the HNF; 
2) location of streams, seeps and wetlands on topographic maps; 3) accessibility of the wetlands 
by roads or hiking trails; and 4) conversations with district biologists regarding stream-seep- 
wetland locations. Based on the above, 2-8 sites were chosen daily for surveys, A total of 10- 
150 person-minutes were spent at each site, depending upon the size of the area and what was 
found. Initially, the entire shoreline, or a major part thereof, was searched by walking slowly 
along the edge and up into the surrounding vegetation, including rolling over rocks and logs. At 
regular intervals, the aquatic habitat was sampled for tadpoles or larvae using dipnets. If the 
initial sampling showed amphibian/reptile species present, further effort was expended in order 
to get some idea of abundance and distribution. 

An attempt was made to capture at least the first few individuals of a species seen at a survey 
site. The species name was recorded along with developmental stage and sex (if possible); the 
animals were then released. Representative samples of the more common species in an area were 
preserved for permanent museum records and will be deposited at the Idaho State University 
Museum. Water temperature, air temperature, pH, a general description of the area, and other 
parameters were recorded. Standard data sheets used during this project are given in Appendix 
1; the amphibian survey data sheet was developed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is used 
extensively by a variety of researchers in the western U.S. Much site-specific data was gathered 
during these surveys; not all data has been analyzed or is presented in this report, but is available 
from the Montana Natural Heritage Program. 

Natural Heritage Program species status ranking definitions and explanations are given in 
Appendix 6. 



RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 

A total of 47 sites were surveyed of which 29 had one or more amphibian or reptile species 
present (Figure 1, Appendices 2 and 3); one site was surveyed two times. Although no species 
were found at 18 sites, their absence may have been due to the time of day, weather conditions, 
or other factors at the time of sampling. With three exceptions, all of the sites were on HNF 
land. 

In addition to the 48 surveys, there were a number of sightings (i.e. road kills, chance 
observations) for which data are available and the sightings considered reliable. Species location 
data from surveys, chance encounters, and historic records (from the literature and museum 
specimens) are listed in Appendix 4. Distribution maps were created using survey and sighting 
data and historical records; inset statewide maps for each species are based on sight and 
specimen records, both recent and historic. 

No previous publications or reports on reptiles or amphibians concentrate on the HNF area. 
Based on museum specimens, publications, surveys and incidental observations, four 
amphibians and three reptiles have been located on the HNF; an additional four amphibians and 
seven reptiles may eventually be found to occur there. Three amphibian and one reptile species 
were actually observed during the study. The following results are presented as individual 
species summaries for the Forest as a whole, followed by specific information on each mountain 
range. 

In the following species accounts, the section on "Similar Species" covers species only which 
are known or suspected to occur in Montana; outside Montana other confusing species may occur 
which are not covered in this report. Photos of all Montana amphibians and reptiles may be 
found in Reichel and Flath (1995). Keys to amphibian eggs (Livezey and Wright 1947) and 
tadpoles (Altig 1970) are available in the literature, but are difficult to use, and for many species 
are not satisfactory for field identification. 



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Species known to be present on tie Helena National Forest 

Long-toed Salamander {Ambystoma macrodactylum) 

Description: Adults are dark gray to black with an irregular (and sometimes broken) green to 
yellow stripe down the middle of the back. Adult snout-vent length varies from 2 to 3.25". 
All salamanders have smooth moist skin without scales. 

Eggs and Larvae: Egg masses are typically laid in small clusters of 5-100 eggs but may be 
laid singly (Nussbaum et al 1983); egg masses are typically attached to underwater 
vegetation or submerged branches. Within the clear gelatinous eggs, the embryos are 
somewhat light-colored, while frog and toad embryos are dark (except in Tailed Frogs). 
Larval Long-toed Salamanders are typically brown- or gray-colored, are found in ponds, have 
three external gills, and are relatively small (<1 .75" snout-vent) and slender. They are 
distinguished from Tiger Salamander larvae by the 9-13 gill rakers on the inside of the 3rd 
gill arch (17-22 rakers on the Tiger Salamander); they are also smaller and lack the large head 
and mourn. 

Similar species: Adult Long-toed Salamanders can be distinguished from Coeur d'Alene 
Salamanders by the longest toe on the hind foot which is longer than the sole and a yellow 
throat patch. Long-toed Salamanders lack a groove running vertically from nostril to mouth. 

Habitat and Habits: Long-toed Salamanders are found in a wide variety of habitats from 
sagebrush to nearly alpine. They breed in ponds or lakes (very rarely in slow moving 
streams), usually those without fish present; on the HNF they were found in temporary and 
permanent ponds/lakes and inactive beaver ponds. Adults go to the breeding ponds 
immediately after snow-melt and are usually the earliest breeding amphibians in western 
Montana. In the Pacific Northwest, eggs hatch in 3-6 weeks and metamorphosis occurs after 
2-14 months (Nussbaum et al. 1983, Leonard et al 1993). Long-toed Salamanders were 
found in 14 locations on the HNF. The earliest surveys on 15-25 May 1995 found only egg 
masses, from newly laid to nearly ready to hatch. July surveys found primarily small larva, 
however, a pond near the head of Austin Creek had 2 small larva and 1 juvenile which 
appeared nearly fully transformed; this would indicate at least some larva overwinter and 
transform when over a year old. At an oxbow on the Blackfoot River a single transforming 
juvenile war found on 25 August, showing transformation may take only one season at lower 
elevation sites. Individuals were found in the Rocky Mountains and the Elkhorn Mountains 
from 4350 - 7050 ft. elevation. Spotted Frogs co-occurred at all sites and Western Toads at 2 
sites. 

Surveying: Larvae can readily be seen in ponds during the day and sampled with a dipnet; egg 
masses are somewhat harder to see. During the breeding season, adults may also be seen in 
the water, particularly during night surveys. During the rest of the spring, summer and fall, 
adults may occasionally be found in and under logs on the forest floor. Metamorphosed 
individuals are active at night, particularly when it is warm and rainy; they may be captured at 
this time by either night searches or pitfall traps. 

Status: The Long-toed Salamander is the most common salamander in western Montana. The 
Long-toed Salamander is also common on the HNF in the Rocky Mountains. The Long-toed 
Salamander is also found in the northwestern part of the Elkhoms, the farthest east reported 



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location in its range. The Elkhoms are the only isolated mountain range east of the 
Continental Divide where this species is found. However, none were found in the southern 
Elkhoms or Big Belt Mountains. In the Lewis and Clark National Forest (L&CNF) it was 
found to be very local in distribution east of the Continental Divide and was not found in the 
isolated ranges to the east (Reichel 1995a). Given the unique position of the Elkhom 
populations more surveys should be done to better understand and document the distribution 
there. 
Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G5 S5. 

Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) 

Description: Adults are gray or brown with gray, brown, or occasionally yellow blotches; the 
skin has a distinctly bumpy texture. The adult has a snout-vent length of 1 5-2" and lacks a 
tympanum. The outer toe of the hind foot is broader than the other toes. The male has a 
bulbous "tail" which acts as a penis. 

Eggs and Larvae: Approximately 50 eggs are laid in rosary-like strings attached to the 
underside of rocks. The tadpole (up to 2" long) is unique in that it has a large mouth 
modified into a sucker; the color is quite variable. 

Similar species: No other frog or toad has the outer toe of the hind foot broader than the other 
toes; all other frogs and toads have a tympanum behind each eye. 

Habitat and Habits: Tailed Frogs are found in and along small, swift, cold mountain streams. In 
the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon, the Tailed Frog appears to be very 
sensitive to siltation and frequently disappears in and downstream from clearcuts and water 
diversions (Bury, pers. comm.). Preliminary findings do not indicate that this is the case in 
Montana. Eggs are laid during the late summer and take approximately 4 weeks to hatch. 
Tadpoles take 1-4 years to metamorphose, depending on water temperature (Nussbaum et al 
1983; Metter 1967). Sexual maturity in Montana is attained at ages 6-7, (Daugherty and 
Sheldon 1982) which is the latest age for sexual maturity of any North American amphibian. 

Surveying: Tadpoles are frequently found while electro-shocking fish. They may also be found 
by turning over rocks in rapid water with a net held just downstream. Adults are best found 
by walking up streams starting 30-60 minutes after dark. 

Status: The Tailed Frog on the HNF is known from a single observation from the late 1960s on a 
"tributary of Copper Creek" (Franz 1971). While Tailed Frogs should be considered a 
species with a very localized distribution on the HNF, it may be more common and 
widespread in suitable habitat than is currently known. It should be looked for throughout the 
Forest, especially to the south and east of the currently known location. East of the 
Continental Divide on the L&CNF it was also found to be very local in distribution (Reichel 
1 995a). It seem doubtful that the Tailed Frog is found in the Elkhom Mountains given the 
intensity of surveys (A. Harper, pers. comm.), and the surveyors specifically watching for the 
species, during the summer of 1995. It is common and widespread in northwestern Montana 
(Reichel and Flath 1995, Werner and Reichel 1994, 1996). Previously it was a USFWS 
Candidate species (C-2). We would recommend that all sightings of this species be reported. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G5 S3S4. 



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Western Toai (Bufo boreas) 

Description: Adults are colored with a gray, brown, or olive-green mottling and a prominent 
white or yellowish line down the center of the back; very young transformed toads typically 
lack the dorsal line, and the warts are often red-brown in color. The pupils are horizontal. 
The adult has a body length of 2.5-5". There are no cranial crests and the skin is relatively 
dry with many warts and glands present. 

Eggs and Larvae: Eggs are laid in long, clear, double strings, and each has a black embryo. 
Tadpoles are typically jet black, while all mid- to large-sized frog tadpoles in Montana are 
green or bronze (except for some Tailed Frogs); very small frog tadpoles are also black. 

Similar species: Other Montana toads have cranial crests between their eyes. The Plains 
Spadefoot has one tubercle on the sole of the hind feet, a vertical pupil, and smoother skin. 
NOTE: It is very difficult to distinguish among the four Montana toad species eggs, larvae, 
and recently-transformed toadlets. 

Habitat and Habits: Adults are largely terrestrial and found in a variety of habitats from valley 
bottoms to high elevations; they breed in lakes, ponds, and slow streams with a preference for 
shallow areas with mud bottoms. Breeding and egg laying in Montana usually takes place 1- 
3 months after snow-melt, from April at lower elevations to July at higher sites. Tadpoles are 
typically 2-3 months old at metamorphosis in Montana, depending on water temperature 
(Black 1970). Following metamorphosis, hundreds of small toads, many with the tails still 
present, can be found on the shores of breeding ponds. Western Toads were reported 
breeding from only two locations on the HNF in 1995. We found thousands of l A grown 
tadpoles in a pond near Dog Creek on 1 1 July 1995 and 3 metamorphs on an oxbow along the 
Blackfoot River on 25 August. 

Surveying: Tadpoles are easily seen in ponds during the day and can be sampled with a dipnet. 
During the breeding season, adults may be seen in the water but at other times are found in 
more terrestrial habitats. 

Status: Tadpoles and metamorphs of the Western Toad were observed at only two sites during 
the 1995 survey in the HNF (Appendix 2, 3). No adults were seen during our surveys 
however, B. Spettigue (pers. comm.) saw one adult near McDonald Pass (Appendix 4). None 
were seen in the Elkhom or Big Belt Mountains, although historic records exist for sites in or 
near both (Appendix 3,4). The rarity of this species on the HNF and lack of recent sightings 
in the eastern ranges is of concern. During 1994 we found no Western Toads in the Little 
Belt, Highwood, or Crazy Mountain of the L&CNF although historic records exist for all 
three ranges; additionally only a single breeding site was located on the main Rocky 
Mountains of the L&CNF (Reichel 1995a). Brunson (1952) regarded the Western Toad as 
one of the most common batrachians (frogs and toads) in western Montana. Black (1 970) 
supported its common occurrence not only in the west but in many counties east of the 
continental divide. The Western Toad has declined from the most common anuran in 
western Montana, to a relatively rare one in the state in the past 25 years (Reichel and Flam 
1995, Werner and Plumber 1995, Werner and Reichel 1994, 1996). 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now lists this species as a Candidate (C-l) species in 
Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Apparent declines have recently been reported in 
northern Idaho (C. Peterson pers. coram.), Yellowstone National Park (Koch and Peterson 

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1995, Peterson et at 1992), Wyoming, and Colorado (Carey 1993). We would recommend 
that all sightings of this species be reported and that a monitoring program be set up for this 
species. 
Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G4 S3S4. 

Spottei Frog (Rana pretiosa) 

Description: The adult has a snout-vent length of 2-4". Adults are dark to light brown, gray, or 
olive green with dark spots (frequently with lighter centers) found on the back, sides and legs. 
The number and pattern of spotting is quite variable. The back and sides are often covered 
with small bumps. The underside of the legs is bright red, salmon, or orange; this bright 
color may extend up to the chin or be replaced by a light, mottled gray on the chin, chest, 
and/or belly. In younger subadults, bright leg color is often lacking and instead a light, 
lemon-colored wash is present. In these subadults there is often a dark mask present, with a 
light jaw stripe extending to the shoulder; both the mask and jaw stripe may be less obvious 
in larger, older animals. 

Eggs and Tadpoles: Eggs are laid in large, globular masses of 1 50-500 at the surface of the 
water. The tadpoles are dark green to brown on top with some gold flecking whereas the 
underside has an iridescent bronze or silver color. Total length of tadpoles may reach 3"; the 
eyes are located on top of the head. 

Similar species: The bright-colored pigment on the undersides of the adult's legs distinguish this 
species from all other frogs in Montana. Younger individuals, without colored legs, may 
usually be distinguished from other frogs by a combination of: 1) dorsal spots usually present 
but not surrounded by light-colored halos; 2) dorsolateral folds present; 3) toes without pads 
at the tips; and 4) a pale gray, (rather than white) belly. 

Habitat and Habits: Spotted Frogs are regularly found at the water's edge in openings within 
forest habitats. Wetlands in or near treeline are also used, but populations are uncommon in 
the large, open intermountain valleys. Eggs hatch in 2-3 weeks and tadpoles take 2-14 
months to metamorphose, depending on water temperature (Nussbaum et al 1983, Turner 
1958). Breeding takes place in lakes, ponds (temporary and permanent), springs, and 
occasionally backwaters or beaver ponds in streams. All the egg masses in a particular pond 
are often found in the same location at the margin of the pond; therefore, the eggs are 
susceptible to drying up if pond levels recede substantially before hatching. Young and adult 
frogs often disperse into marsh and forest habitats but are not usually found far from open 
water. The Spotted Frog was commonly found throughout the HNF from just above the 
prairie edge at 4350 to 7050 ft. elevation near timberline. Individuals were found in every 
type of wetland habitat, although numbers varied widely from one to 50 or more per site. 
Eggs were found on the first surveys on 15 May 95 at two locations in the Elkhoms and as 
late as 25 May (last spring surveys). Hatching tadpoles were seen on 17 May 95 in the Big 
Belts; mid-large tadpoles were present during My surveys and only metamorphs were seen 
by late August. The largest group of egg masses I have seen was found on 20 May in an old 
beaver pond on a tributary of Beaver Creek (Appendix 2); I estimated 120 egg masses were 
present covering an area about 6 X 8 ft. 
Surveying: Adults, tadpoles, and eggs are easily seen in and along the water during the day and 

12 



can be sampled with a dipnet; adults may also be captured by hand. Many adults may leave 
the breeding ponds following egg laying and move to nearby feeding areas for the summer. 
Tadpoles are difficult to distinguish from those of the Northern Leopard Frog in areas where 
the two species may overlap. 

Status: The most common frog on the HNF and in western Montana. It was observed in all areas 
surveyed on the HNF S and occurred in all 28 sites where any amphibian was species found. 
However, it appeared to be much less common in the Big Belt Mountains than the Elkhoms 
or main Rocky Mountains. The species was previously a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Category 2 Candidate species in Montana; elsewhere in its range it is listed as a C-l, with 
Threatened/Endangered status warranted but precluded by work on higher priority species 
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993). While significant declines are known from the 
southern end of the range (Nevada, southern Idaho, Utah) and are also apparent in coastal 
Washington (McAllister et al 1993), Oregon, and California, recent (as yet unpublished) 
research indicates that those populations are actually different species. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G4 S4. 

Racer {Coluber constrictor) 

Description: A slender, but moderately long snake, the Racer ranges from 20-65 inches in length. 
Adult coloration is uniform across the dorsal side but it can vary from a greenish-gray to 
brown or blue. The ventral side is whitish to pale yellow, the latter color extending onto the 
upper lip scales and nasal region. The eyes are relatively large. The scales are smooth and 
the nostril is bordered by two scales. 

Young: Snakes (up to about 20") have a much different coloration than the adults consisting 
of a series of dorsal brown blotches edged with black which run the length of the animal; a 
row of blotches is also found on each side of the animal extending onto the ventral side. 

Similar species: Young Gopher Snakes may be distinguished by the keeled rather than smooth 
scales of the young Racer. Young Western Hognose Snakes have an upturned nose. Smooth 
Green Snakes are smaller and colored bright grass-green and whitish below; their nostrils are 
centered in single scales. Also see Rubber Boa. 

Habitat and Habits: The Racer is associated with open habitats, either in shortgrass, shrub-steppe, 
or forested areas (Hammerson 1982a, Baxter and Stone 1985). It is often found near water 
and rocks. The Racer is an extremely fast and agile snake. A clutch of perhaps 3-7 eggs is 
laid in the summer (Stebbins 1985). It preys on insects and small vertebrates such as mice 
and frogs. 

Surveying: They may be surveyed for by slowly walking through appropriate habitat on warm, 
sunny days and carefully watching for them; this technique is moderately effective for the ? 
Racer. However, as with many lizards and snakes, they may easily be missed. Carefully 
documented incidental observations may provide the best clues to their distribution. They 
may be also taken in funnel traps with drift fences. Mark-recapture methods offer the best 
opportunity for determining population status. 

Status:^ The Racer was not seen in this survey, however, Davis (1963) has a map of this species 
which shows records apparently on the HNF. A more recent sighting was made just off the 

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Selben Ranch below the Forest. They would be expected to occur on the HNF at low to mid- 
elevations; given the poor accuracy of the Davis (1963) map, any sightings should be 
documented. Of particular interest would be documentation of any denning sites located. 
Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S5. 



Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans) 

Description: Adult Western Terrestrial (or Wandering) Garter Snakes are smaller in body size 
than the Common Garter Snake, their length varying from 18-43". Three yellow longitudinal 
stripes are present (one dorsal, two lateral on the 2nd and 3rd scale rows), but the dorsal 
stripe is much narrower than that of the Common Garter Snake. A distinctive feature of the 
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake is a series of alternating black spots which run the length of 
the body between, and somewhat on, the yellow stripes. The background color between the 
stripes is a dusky gray, green or brown, compared to the black or occasionally dark green 
found in the Common Garter Snake. The ventral surface has a series of dark black/brown 
blotches which may cover most of the surface. All black, presumably melanistic, individuals 
are occasionally found near Townsend. The dorsal scales are keeled and there are normally 8 
upper labial scales. 
Young: The coloration of young snakes is similar to that of the adults; young are live-born. 

Similar species: See Common Garter Snake. 

Habitat and Habits: The habitat and habits of the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake are similar to 
the Common Garter Snake, i.e., they are found in most habitats but are particularly common 
around wetlands. In the HNF area the species was found between 3450 ft in the valley 
bottom and 6200 ft near McDonald Pass, but probably occurs higher. Females give birth to 
4-19 young during the summer (Stebbins 1985). 

Surveying: Timed sight surveys may be conducted around wetlands and riparian feeding areas or 
at denning areas where higher concentrations of garter snakes occur; clear mornings are the 
best survey times. Much distributional information may come from recording incidental 
sightings. More intensive research may be done using funnel traps in combination with drift 
fences. More intensive research and survey projects may use mark-recapture or 
radiotelemetry techniques. 

Status: Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes were found in the main Rocky Mountains and Big Belt 
Mountains on the HNF; there are also historic locations just off the forest at the base of the 
Elkhorn Mountains. Given the small number of recent records from throughout the area, all 
records should be documented until the distribution is better understood; of particular interest 
would be documentation of denning sites. Sightings of elegans from the Elkhorn Mountains 
should be documented to confirm their presence in that range. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S5. 



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Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) 

Description: The Common Garter Snake consists of two color phases in western Montana, both 
ranging from 18-52" in length. Both phases have three yellow longitudinal stripes: one 
located dorsally and one on each side on the 2nd and 3rd scale rows above the belly scales. 
Between the yellow stripes is a black (or dark green) background, broken with red spots in 
one color phase but lacking red in the other. Ventral coloration varies from yellow to bluish, 
and some individuals of the red-sided color phase have small black spots on the edge of the 
ventral scales. The dorsal scales are keeled, and normally there are 7 upper labial scales. 
Young: The coloration of young snakes is similar to that of the adults; young are live-bom. 

Similar species: The Western Terrestrial Garter Snake has black spots overlapping the dorsal 
yellow stripe; the background color between stripes tends to be paler dusky green, gray or 
brown. The Plains Garter Snake has the side yellow stripe on the 3rd and 4th scale rows 
above the belly scales and the dorsal stripe is often orange or red. 

Habitat and Habits: Garter snakes are found in all forest habitats but are more common at lower 
elevations around marsh-bog-pond situations, where they prey on young fish, frogs, toads, 
mice and invertebrates. They are sometimes confused with water snakes because of their 
frequent aquatic exploits, but there are no true water snakes in Montana. Typical of most 
garter snakes, they emit a noxious secretion when handled and can be aggressive when 
disturbed. The Common Garter Snake was reported at two locations in 1995, both about 
5600 feet, on the HNF by A. Harper and S. Hendrickson; historically they have also been 
found at low elevations in the intermountain valleys. Garter snakes eat a variety of 
vertebrates and invertebrates, with the Common Garter Snake concentrating more on 
amphibians than the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. The Common Garter Snake is a live- 
bearer giving birth to 12-18 young during the summer in Colorado (Hammerson 1982a). 

Surveying: Timed-sight surveys may be conducted around wetlands and riparian feeding areas or 
at denning areas where higher concentrations of garter snakes occur; clear mornings are the 
best survey times. Much distributional information may come from recording incidental 
sightings. More intensive research may be done using funnel traps in combination with drift 
fences. More intensive research and survey projects may use mark-recapture or 
radiotelemetry techniques. 

Status: Common Garter Snakes were found in the Rocky Mountains and Elkhom Mountains on 
the HNF. There is also a historic record of them from the valley between the two locations. 
Given the small number of records from throughout the area, all records should be 
documented until the distribution is better understood; of particular interest would be 
documentation of denning sites. Sightings of sirtalis from the Big Belt Mountains and Rocky 
Mountains north of McDonald Pass should be documented to confirm their presence in those 
areas. Only the red-sided color phase has observed in this area, however the color phase 
lacking red spots should be watched for. The Common Gaiter Snake is much less abundant 
than the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake in this area, as it is currently in northwestern 
Montana. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S4. 



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Species Potentiaiy Present on the Helena National Forest 

Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) 

Description: Adults are very small (0.75-1.5") and have tiny, almost unnoticeable toe pads. 

They have a dark line extending from the snout through the eye to the groin. Basic coloration 
is quite variable with the background color being green, brown, gray, or reddish. Typically 3- 
5 dark longitudinal stripes are present on the head and back which may be broken up into 
spots on some individuals. 

Eggs and Tadpoles: Eggs are laid in small clusters of 10-100, usually less than 1" across and 
attached to submerged vegetation (Wheeler and Wheeler 1966, Baxter and Stone 1985). 
Individual eggs are about 1 mm in diameter. Tadpoles are brown/bronze and the eyes are 
located on the sides of the head. 

Similar species: Pacific Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris regilla) have obvious toe pads and an eye 
stripe ending at the shoulder. Recently metamorphosed Ranid frogs could be confused with 
this species but the coloration differs and the tiny toe pads are lacking (often visible only with 
a magnifying glass on small chorus frogs). 

Habitat and Habits: Western Chorus Frogs are regularly found in the water only during the 
breeding period in spring. Their presence is obvious during this time due to their call which 
is given frequently at night and sporadically throughout the day. Following breeding, these 
frogs move into adjacent uplands and are rarely seen. In eastern Montana they breed in 
temporary ponds and small lakes surrounded by prairie; in some locations in Montana they 
are also found in open forested habitats. Eggs hatch in about 2 weeks and tadpoles are about 
2 months old at metamorphosis (Wheeler and Wheeler 1966, Nussbaum et at 1983). 

Surveying: Adults are easily surveyed for, using their calls for identification during the breeding 
season in the spring and early summer. During the breeding season, adults may also be seen 
in the water, but their small size and habit of freezing or diving when disturbed makes 
observation difficult; night surveys may be more productive. Egg masses are difficult to find. 
Tadpoles may be seen in ponds during the day and can be sampled with a dipnet. 

Status: Common throughout the prairies of eastern Montana. Two reports of Western Chorus 
Frogs were received for the HNF. One report was from the vicinity of McDonald Pass and 
the other from a cow pond in the upper Jackson Creek drainage of the Elkhorn Mountains 
(Appendix 4); given the distance from other known locations and unusual habitat, these 
report should be treated as hypothetical until verified. It seems possible that Western Chorus 
Frogs will eventually be verified from the lower elevations of the HNF. The most likely 
locations would be the extreme northeastern portion of the main Rocky Mountains east of 
Lincoln, the east side of the Big Belts, or the Dry Range. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G5 S5. 



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Woodhouse's Toad (Bufo woodhousif) 

Description: Adults have dry skin with small warts, and are gray, brown, or olive-green with 
paler mottling or spots. A prominent white or yellowish line runs down the center of the 
back; very young transformed toads typically lack the dorsal line, and the warts are often red- 
brown in color. Woodhouse's Toad has parallel cranial crests between the eyes and post- 
orbital crests connecting to them at a right angle behind the eyes; the post-orbital crests 
typically touch the parotoid glands. If a lump-like boss Is present on the snout, it does not 
extend back between the eyes. The pupils are horizontal. The adult has two black tubercles 
on the hind feet and a body length of 2.5-4". 
Eggs and Tadpoles: Similar to those of the Western Toad. 

Similar species: The Western Toad lacks cranial crests. The Great Plains Toad has large, white- 
bordered, dark, dorsal blotches. The Canadian Toad has a lump between the eyes; frequently 
the parotoid gland is separated from the post-orbital crest which may be broken or absent. 
NOTE: It is very difficult to distinguish among the four Montana toad species eggs, larvae* 
and recently-transformed toadlets. 

Habitat and Habits: Adults are partially terrestrial but often found near water. They are usually 
found in irrigated agricultural areas and flood plains, rather than the more upland areas used 
by Great Plains Toads (Bragg 1940, Timkin and Dunlap 1965, Black 1970). They are most 
active at night, although they may at times be found feeding during the day (Hammerson 
1982a). They typically breed in permanent lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and slow streams, with a 
preference for shallow areas with mud bottoms (Black 1970, Hammerson 1982a, Baxter and 
Stone 1985). Breeding and egg laying Is spread out over the spring and early summer, with 
known dates from Montana ranging from 4 May to 1 July (Black 1970). 

Surveying: Adults may easily be found by using their loud calls for identification on warm (>54° 
F) nights; calling peaks during the first few hours after sunset (Hammerson 1982a). "Road 
hunting" on warm nights may also be effective. Eggs and tadpoles are seen in ponds during 
the day and can be sampled with a dipnet; however, identification of toad eggs and tadpoles 
is difficult or impossible in the field. 

Status: Woodhouse's Toad is relatively common in southeastern Montana, however, its status 
elsewhere in the state is unclear. A tadpole, reported as Woodhouse's Toad, present in the 
Montana State University Museum was collected at the mouth of Trout Creek on the 
Missouri River in 1948; it should be treated as hypothetical, until verified, given the 
difficulty identifying Bufo tadpoles and the long distance to the nearest record. Geographic 
and habitat relationships with other toads in Montana are not well known. It should be 
watched for at low elevations in prairie or shrub-steppe habitat on the HNF; it could occur 
along the Missouri River. Any located on the HNF should be well documented with a 
description Indicating how the species was differentiated. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G5 S4. 



22 



Plains Spadefoot {Scaphiopus [=Spea] bombifrons) 

Description: Adults are colored gray or brown with darker mottling on the back and a white 
belly. Some individuals have indistinct longitudinal streaking. The pupils of the Plains 
Spadefoot are vertically elliptical and there is a high, hard lump between the eyes. Its skin is 
less warty than true toads. The adult has a single tubercle on the hind feet and has a body 
length of less than 2.5". 

Eggs and Tadpoles: Oval egg masses of 10-250 eggs are attached to underwater plants or 
debris. Tadpoles are mottled sooty and olive-yellow above and paler below with gold 
metallic flecking over all; iris is gold. 

Similar species: Other Montana frogs and toads have round or horizontally elliptical pupils. 

Habitat and Habits: Adults are found in grassland and sagebrush areas, particularly in areas with 
sandy or loose soil (Wheeler and Wheeler 1966, Hammerson 1982a, Baxter and Stone 1985). 
Except during breeding, they are seldom found in the water. They are primarily nocturnal 
and emerge from their burrows only following heavy rains. They breed in shallow temporary 
pools usually following heavy spring or summer rains (Hammerson 1982a). Males call 
loudly, with groups being heard for up to a mile. Eggs hatch after 2-3 days and tadpoles 
transform in 6-10 weeks (Wheeler and Wheeler 1966, Hammerson 1982a). 

Surveying: Adults may be easily found by using their calls for identification when breeding at 
night or by "road hunting" on warm, rainy nights. Calling normally takes place only when the 
temperature is >50° F (Hammerson 1982). Tadpoles are seen in ponds during the day and 
can be sampled with a dipnet. Surveying is complicated by the long time periods which this 
species spends underground, especially during droughts. 

Status: The Plains Spadefoot is not known from HNF lands; the nearest record is from Helena in 
1988. Locally common in eastern Montana; there are large gaps in the known range. It 
should be watched for at low elevations in prairie or shrub-steppe habitat on the HNF. Any 
located on the HNF should be well-documented. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G5 S4? 



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Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) 

Description: Adults are brown or green with large, dark spots surrounded by light-colored faalos 
on the sides and back. The dorso-lateral folds (ridges along the sides of the back) are usually 
lighter in color that the surrounding background. The under-side is typically white, but may 
be cream-colored or yellowish. The adult has a body length of 2-5". Newly transformed 
froglets may lack spots and are about 1 " in length (Leonard et al 1993). 
Eggs and Tadpoles: Eggs are laid in 2-5" globular masses composed of hundreds to 
thousands of eggs (Hammerson 1982a, Nussbaum et al 1983). The tadpoles are brown to 
dark brown on top with some metallic flecking, whereas the underside is often nearly 
transparent (Nussbaum et al. 1983). Total length of tadpoles may reach more than 3"; the 
eyes are located on top of the head. 

Similar species: None, although some newly-transformed froglets may lack spots, which makes 
them extremely difficult to distinguish from Spotted and Wood Frogs. 

Habitat and Habits: Northern Leopard Frogs are found in or near water in non-forested habitats. 
Vegetation is typically dense, as in a cattail marsh or dense sedge-meadow. Breeding takes 
place in lakes, ponds (temporary and permanent), springs, and occasionally backwaters or 
beaver ponds in streams. In Colorado, eggs hatch in 4-15 days and tadpoles take 8-15 weeks 
to metamorphose, depending on water temperature (Hammerson 1982a). 

Surveying: Both adults, tadpoles, and eggs are easily seen in and along the water during the day 
and can be sampled with a dipnet; adults may also be captured by hand. At very low 
densities adults may be difficult to find and may be detected using a call recorder. Tadpoles 
are difficult to tell from those of the Spotted Frog in areas where the two species may 
overlap. 

Status: Historically, the Northern Leopard Frog was widespread in Montana but it now appears 
to be extinct throughout much of the western part of the state. It is still common and 
widespread in the southeastern corner of the state, but it may be declining in central and 
northeastern Montana. It appears that only localized populations are present on the western 
edge of the plains. A single report of this frog is known from the HNF; an observation of one 
was made near McDonald Pass in 1994. Given the recent declines in this species and the 
unusual habitat, this record should be treated as hypothetical until verified. Several other 
records exist from near HNF lands at lower elevations. The most recent record was of a few 
individuals seen at the Deepdale Fishing Access south of Townsend in 1994; however, 
despite three surveys, none were seen in 1995. Due to its significant decline and lack of 
current reports from the HNF, all sightings of this species should be documented. 

Northern Leopard Frogs are now absent from many other areas in North America where 
they were common a few decades ago. Widespread extinctions are known from Alberta 
(Koonz 1993), Wyoming (Koch and Peterson 1995), Colorado (Hammerson 1982b, Com and 
Fogelman 1984), Idaho (Groves and Peterson 1992), Washington, and Oregon (Leonard et al 
1993). Bullfrog and fish introductions, acid rain, ozone depletion, immune system 
suppression, and "Postmetamorphic Death Syndrome" have all been suggested as causes for 
frog extirpations in other areas (Com and Fogelman 1984, Hammerson 1982b, Carey 1993, 
Leonard etal 1993). 

Montana Natural Heritage Program rank: G4 S3S4. 

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Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) 

Description: Adult Painted Turtles have a relatively flat dorsal shell, or carapace, the length of 
which may reach 9" in females and 7" in males. The background color of the shell may be 
dark brown, olive, or Mack. A series of short, irregular yellow lines are often scattered across 
the shell, and a red and Hack border forms the outer edge. The ventral shell, or plastron, is 
red with a centrally-located yellow and black blotch with edges flaring out along the border 
of the scutes. The edge of the plastron also has a series of black and yellow blotches. The 
head, neck, and legs are marked with yellow lines and a red spot appears behind the eye. 
Very dark colored individuals are occasionally found. Males are distinguished by longer 
front claws and longer tails with the anus posterior to the margin of the carapace (Ernst et al. 
1994). 

Eggs and Young. The elliptical, white, soft-shelled eggs are about 28-35 mm in length and 
16-23 mm in width (Ernst et al 1994). They typically number 6-23 per clutch. Coloration of 
young Painted Turtles is more vibrant and the shell is not quite as flattened as adults. 

Similar Species: None. 

Habitat and Habits: Painted Turtles are active during the day and are rarely seen far from ponds, 
lakes, or the slow-moving water of streams. Adults are primarily herbivorous, feeding on a 
variety of aquatic plants, but will also scavenge on animal remains. Eggs are usually laid 
within 10-20 feet of the water's edge, although some individuals will travel up to 600 m 
seeking a suitable site. During egg-laying, the female excavates a hole with her hind feet and 
deposits the eggs, which are then covered by several inches of dirt. Predation on turtle eggs 
by raccoons, skunks, etc. is common, and shell fragments are evidence of such activity. 
Female Painted Turtles may lay more than one clutch of eggs each summer. Young borne of 
late egg depositions overwinter in the nest and do not emerge until the following spring 
(Ernst et al. 1994). Once females lay their eggs, they return to the pond, where they can often 
be seen basking on logs or rocks along with juveniles and males. Painted Turtles are sexually 
mature at 3-5 years of age and may live to be 30 years or older (Ernst et al. 1994). 

Surveying: Although various turtle traps can be used for surveys, visual identification is suitable 
for presence/absence studies since the three turtle species in Montana are easily 
distinguished. Basking peaks at different times during the day, depending on season and 
location; in the northern states and Canada it generally peaks in the morning. Surveys should 
be done on sunny days with a pair of binoculars. During cold or cloudy weather, turtles tend 
to remain underwater for long periods and can be missed on a walk-through survey. 

Status: Painted Turtles are locally quite common in Montana at lower elevations. They were not 
found on the HNF. However they are known from lower elevation areas on the plains 
adjacent to the forest, and were reported within l A mile of the forest boundary by A. Harper 
and S. Hendrickson (pers. coram.) in the western Elkhom Mountains. They probably occur 
on the HNF at low elevations; any sightings should be documented. There has been some 
concern about Painted Turtle populations nationally; whether declines have occurred in 
Montana is unknown 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S5. 



28 



Spiny Softshell {Trionyx spiniferus) (=Apaione spinifera) 

Description: Spiny Soft-shells have flexible, leathery shells. The carapace is olive-gray, marked 
with dark spots. The plastron is white or light cream-colored. Female carapace length is up 
to 18 inches or more, whereas males are typically 6-8 inches. The nostrils are terminal, 
allowing this turtle to remain entirely beneath the surface and take air through its "snorkel" 
Eggs and Young: The nest is a flask-shaped excavation containing 4-39 (typically 12-18) 
hard-shelled, spherical, white eggs. The individual eggs range in size from 24-32 mm in 
diameter and average about 28 mm. Hatchlings resemble adults and are 30-40 mm in shell 
length (Ernst et al 1994). 

Similar Species: None. 

Habits and Habitat: Spiny Softshells are active during the day. This highly aquatic turtle is 
found in rivers or their connecting backwaters with muddy or sandy bottoms. Unlike other 
Montana turtles, they do not move overland from one water body to another. Mud and sand 
banks and bars are used for both basking and nesting. Hibernation takes place beneath the 
water, usually beneath 5-10 cm of bottom substrate (Ernst et al 1994). The retracted head 
and neck combines with the profile of the shell to produce a wedge shape, which allows this 
turtle to escape by literally diving into the bottom mud. If necessary, additional strokes of the 
legs will completely bury it in the substrate, hidden from view. Food items include fish, 
crayfish, frogs, toads, aquatic insects, and carrion. Spiny Soft-shells have a surprisingly long, 
agile neck and can inflict a painful bite. They can be safely handled by grasping the shell on 
each side between the front and rear legs with the head pointing away from the captor. 

Surveying: Although various turtle traps can be used for surveys, visual identification is suitable 
since the three turtle species in Montana are easily distinguished . A pair of binoculars is 
helpful and surveys should be done on warm sunny days; basking seldom takes place before 
10:00 a.m. (Ernst et al. 1994). During cold or cloudy weather, turtles tend to remain 
underwater for long periods and can be missed on a walk-through survey. Care should be 
taken to watch for the snorkel-like nostrils projecting just above the surface of the water. 

Status and Distribution: Found mainly in the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers and their major 
tributaries. These populations may be separated from each other and are believed to be 
disjunct form the population in South Dakota (Ernst et al 1 994); they have not been reported 
from North Dakota (Wheeler and Wheeler 1966). The Missouri River population is known 
from the tail of Fort Peck Reservoir upstream to the first dam above, and from most of the 
Mussellshell River; their presence on other tributaries is presently unknown. A specimen 
was reported by Black (1970) from Canyon Ferry Reservoir, however, no museum has 
reported having one, nor have recent biologists in the area reported them here; it should be 
treated as hypothetical given the long distance to the nearest record. Any located on the HNF 
should be documented and reported. Considered a Species of Special Concern in Montana. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S3. Species of Special Concern. 



30 




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Short-horned Lkard (Phrynosoma douglasi) 

Description: The Short-homed lizard has a broad, somewhat flattened body and relatively short 
limbs and tail. It is generally tan to gray with dark and light spots and blotches; the belly is 
white. There is a distinctive line of pointed scales along each side, and the head has short, 
blunt s, homs" pointing backward. Adult lizards range from 1.7 - 5.5" in length. 
Young: Young are live-bom and resemble small adults. 

Similar species: None. 

Habitat and Habits: The Short-homed lizard is found in a variety of habitats, including dry open 
forests, grasslands, and sagebrush; the soil is usually loose or sandy. In firmer soil situations, 
it may use the burrows of other animals. It is active during the day, typically with the peak of 
activity in mid-late morning. A Short-homed Lizard may squirt blood from its eyes when 
disturbed. Little is known about reproduction in this part of the range; young are bom in late 
summer. Ants are the primary food of the species. 

Surveying: They may be surveyed for by slowly walking through appropriate habitat and 
watching carefully for them; look carefully near ant mounds; this technique has low success 
with Short-homed Lizards however. As with many lizards and snakes, they are easily 
missed. Carefully documented incidental observations may provide the best clues to their 
distribution. They may be also taken in pitfall or funnel traps in combination with drift 
fences. 

Status: The Short-homed Lizard subspecies found in Montana (P. d. brevirostra) is currently a 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Category 2 Candidate species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
1994). It is widely distributed (but apparently localized) in eastern Montana. There are no 
records from the Helena National Forest, but there are records from the Three Forks area to 
the south (Reichel and Flath 1995). The most likely places to find this species would be in 
near the south ends of the Big Belt and Elkhorn Mountains at low elevations. This species 
may be vulnerable to collecting for the pet trade and agricultural conversion of native 
habitats. It should be watched for in open pine, prairie, or shrub-steppe habitat with loose or 
sandy soils; all sightings should be documented. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S4. A Species of Special Concern. 



32 



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Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) 

Description: The Rubber Boa looks and feels like robber, hence its name. It is a small snake 
(14-33" length), stout, and uniformly-colored either brown or green on the dorsal side. The 
ventral surface is cream to tan in color. The scales are small and smooth, except for those on 
the head which are enlarged. The tail is short and blunt and the eyes are very small It is a 
very slow moving snake which can easily be caught if detected. 

Young: Rubber Boas are bom alive and young are more tan (or even pinkish) than the adults 
on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces. 

Similar species: The Racer is much quicker and more active, has larger eyes, and a thin, tapered 
(not blunt) tail. 

Habitat and Habits: The Rubber Boa is a secretive, slow-moving, docile snake, usually found 
under logs and rocks in either moist or dry forest habitats, but rarely in marsh or bog 
situations. Denning locations are typically in areas with fractured rock on south facing 
slopes; recent data indicates it rarely moves more than a short distances from its den 
(Peterson pers. comm). Occasionally this snake is seen sunning itself on a road, trail, or open 
area, but it is primarily nocturnal. Feeding is primarily on small mice, but also on shrews, 
salamanders, snakes and lizards. Two to eight young are born alive in late summer or early 
fall. 

Surveying: There are no practical methods for surveying other than systematic searches of a 
given area rolling over rocks, logs, etc. Driving roads at night, particularly after a rain when 
the temperature is > 10* C, may be more effective, especially on roads which follow a stream. 
Previous sightings are of value in locating general areas of activity and denning sites. Funnel 
traps may be effective. 

Status: Sightings of Rubber Boas are infrequent, but they are widely distributed and probably 
common throughout western Montana. They were not found during this survey, nor are mere 
historic records of their presence definitely located on the HNF. However, a record from 
Grizzly Gulch in 1994 may have been on the forest. They probably occur throughout the 
Rocky Mountains of the HNF at low to mid-elevations. They should be watched for on the 
HNF; any sightings should be documented. Of particular interest would be any reports of this 
species from the Elkhorn or Big Belt Mountains or documentation of any denning sites 
located. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S4. 



34 



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Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) 

Description: The Milk Snake is a slender and medium-sized snake (to 42 inches in length or 
more), with smooth scales. It has a highly recognizable series of red to orange saddles or 
rings that are bordered by black bands and separated by white or yellow bands. Width of 
dark and light bands can vary widely. The subspecies in Montana (L. t. gentilis) tends to be 
paler, with orange bands replacing red, and a light belly with few or no black spots. 

Similar species: None in Montana. 

Habitat and Habits: Little is known of Milk Snakes in Montana because only a few have been 
reported. In Wyoming and elsewhere they are usually found near cliffs, talus, outcrops, and 
rocky hillsides in forested and open country. They can be found in or under rotten logs. Milk 
Snakes are secretive and most active at night. They eat a variety of vertebrates, including 
other snakes, lizards, eggs, small mammals, and sometimes invertebrates such as earthworms 
and insects. Eggs are laid in mid-summer. Milk Snakes sometimes vibrate their tails when 
disturbed. Their name stems from an old tale alleging that these snakes milk cows. 

Surveying: Timed-sight surveys may be conducted around cliff bases and outcrops; turning over 
rocks in these areas may be very effective in May and early June (L. Vitt, pers. comm.). Most 
distributional information will likely come from recording incidental sightings.. More 
intensive research may be done using funnel traps in combination with drift fences. The most 
intensive research and survey projects may use mark-recapture or radio-telemetry techniques. 

Status: Milk Snakes are very rare and local in Montana. There are no records from the Helena 
National Forest, but there are records from the Three Forks area to the south (Reichel and 
Flath 1995). The most likely places to find this species would be in rocky canyons on the 
south ends of the Big Belt and Elkhom Mountains. The subspecies found in Montana is 
highly sought for the pet trade. All records of Milk Snakes should be fully documented; of 
particular interest would be documentation of denning sites. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S2. A Species of Special Concern. 



36 



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Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer [=melanoleucus]) 

Description: Montana's largest snake, the adult Gopher Snake (also called Bullsnake or Pine 
Snake) can reach a total length of 7 feet, but most specimens seen in western Montana range 
between 3-5 feet. It is readily recognized by a series of large black to brown blotches which 
run down the back, and another series along the sides. The blotches, which are set on a 
yellow background, become more widely spaced and darker towards the tail. The dorsal 
scales are keeled. There is usually a black band on the head located in front of and extending 
below the eyes. The ventral coloration is yellow to white, often spotted with black, and the 
anal plate is undivided. 

Eggs and Young: Gopher Snakes lay between 2-24 eggs during the summer months 
(Hammerson 1982a), and the young resemble the adults in coloration. 

Similar species: Young Racers have a black border on dark blotches and the scales are not 
keeled. Young Western Hognose Snakes have an upturned nose. Western Rattlesnakes have 
a rattle on their tail and triangular shaped heads. 

Habitat and Habits: Gopher Snakes are associated with dry, arid habitats including grassland, 
shrub-steppe, and open pine forest. They feed on rodents, rabbits and ground dwelling birds, 
and to a lesser extent on frogs, toads, etc., found around stock ponds and other wetlands. 
They have a habit of hissing and vibrating the tail when alarmed, often sounding like 
rattlesnakes. They occasionally climb trees, hence the common name "Pine Snake." 

Surveying: Walk-through surveys, done on a regular basis in warm, sunny weather probably 
give the best results without resorting to trapping techniques. They are most easily found 
near dens in the spring and fall. Funnel trapping is effective and they may occasionally be 
found by night driving during the mid-summer. Data can be enhanced by mark-recapture 
techniques. 

Status: The Gopher Snake was not seen in this survey nor are there historic records from the 
HNF. However they are known from lower elevation areas on the plains adjacent to the 
forest, and were reported within V* mile of the forest boundary by A. Harper and S. 
Hendrickson (pers. comm.) in the western Big Belt Mountains. They almost certainly occur 
on the HNF at low to mid-elevations; any sightings should be documented. Of particular 
interest would be documentation of any denning sites located. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S5. 



38 



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Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) 

Description: Rattlesnakes have a heat-sensing pit located between the nostril and the eye. The 
fangs are hollow and hinged, allowing them to be folded back against the roof of the mouth. 
The head is triangular in shape and blunt-nosed. The eyes are slightly elevated. There are 
several white lines which run along the side of the head. Adult Western Rattlesnakes have a 
narrow neck but a stout body with total length ranging from 1 5-60 inches. The dorsal 
background color varies from pale green to brown with a series of brown or black blotches 
edged with a dark and then light line extending the length of the body. The blotches often 
merge into rings on the tail There are also blotches on the sides of the body. The ventral 
side is pale yellow to white and without blotches. The scales are keeled. The tail ends in a 
rattle which helps to warn potential predators of the snake's presence. The young have the 
same color pattern, but are brighter in color than adults. 

Similar species: No other snake in Montana has rattles, but see Racer, Gopher Snake and 
Western Hognose Snake which may have similar color patterns. 

Habitat and Habits: The Western Rattlesnake is an inhabitant of more open and arid country but 
it is also found in Ponderosa pine stands or mixed grass-coniferous forests. It is more likely 
to be encountered on south-facing slopes and areas of rock outcrops. It is feared and often 
needlessly killed due to its poisonous bite. Rattlesnakes may den in large numbers, moving 
up to 7 miles out from the dens during the summer (Peterson, pers. comm.); den sites are 
most common in south-facing talus slopes. In Wyoming, it is found up to elevations of over 
8500 feet (Baxter and Stone 1985). Rattlesnakes prey on a variety of animals including mice, 
ground squirrels, rabbits, amphibians, and other snakes. In Colorado, females give birth to 4- 
21 young during the summer (Hammerson 1982a). 

Surveying: A walk-through survey on a warm sunny day is probably the best method for 
determining presence/absence; it is easiest to find near den sites in spring and fall. Funnel 
traps and night driving are both effective techniques. Mark-recapture methods can be used 
to determine more precise numbers. 

Status: The Western Rattlesnake was not been found in the HNF but is known from lower 
elevation areas to the north, south, east and the valleys between the mountain ranges. It 
would most likely be encountered at lower elevations in open habitats. The habit of denning 
at traditional sites in large numbers makes rattlesnakes vulnerable to commercial collecting 
or simply killing by fearful people. Observations of Western Rattlesnakes should be reported 
to document the presence of this species on the HNF; of particular interest would be 
documentation of any denning sites located. 

Montana Natural Heritage Program Rank: G5 S4. 



40 



Regional Information 

Rocky Mountain chain: "The Tailed frog was only reported from the main Rocky Mountain 
range of the HNF in the Lincoln District. It appears to be more localized on the HNF than in 
areas to the west and north. It is not known on the HNF to the south of the Blackfoot River. 
Electro-shocking ish surveys should be used to determine how widespread this species is; all 
incidental observations should be recorded. 

Other species found during surveys, or for which historic locations are known, on the Rocky 
Mountains of the HNF include the: Long-toed Salamander, Western Toad, Spotted Frog, Racer, 
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake, and Common Garter Snake. All of these species are also 
present in the Elkhom and/or the Big Belt Mountains. The Western Toad was only found 
breeding at two locations on the forest; this may be a function of the small amount of sampling or 
the apparent decline in much of western Montana Both breeding locations should be considered 
for monitoring to see if Western Toads continue to breed at them and are successfully reaching 
metamorphosis. Substantial populations of the Spotted Frog were found throughout the range; it 
was more commonly encountered than any other amphibian or reptile, though ironically it is one 
of the two C-2 Candidate species present on the HNF. A beaver pond area on a tributary of 
Beaver Creek might be considered for long-term monitoring of Spotted Frogs and Long-toed 
Salamanders; it currently has very large populations of both species. Concerned citizens might be 
willing to participate in long-term surveys. The Racer was not found during our surveys; the 
only historic records for the Rocky Mountains on the HNF are from Davis (1963), which is a 
large-scale state map with dots which appear to fall on the Forest. The Western Terrestrial 
Garter Snake appears to be the most common reptile on the forest It is perhaps 2-5 times as 
common as the Common Garter Snake, which may be undergoing a decline in Montana, Idaho, 
and elsewhere. 

Given the low numbers of locations for any amphibians or reptiles on the HNF, all sightings 
of any species should be recorded. A possible exception would be for Spotted Frogs; however, 
breeding locations found should be recorded even for this species until more are known and 
mapped. Of particular interest would be records of the following species which have not yet 
been recorded on the Forest: Western Chorus Frog. Plains Spadefoot, Northern Leopard Frog, 
Painted Turtle, Rubber Boa, Gopher Snake, and Western Rattlesnake. All of these potentially 
present species, except the Rubber Boa, are most likely to be seen at low elevations in open 
habitat. Additionally, the reported sites for Northern Leopard Frog and Western Chorus Frog 
near McDonald Pass should be revisited. 

Elkhom Mountains: No species were restricted to the Elkhom Mountains. The Long-toed 
Salamander is found in the northwestern part of the Elkhoms, the farthest east reported location 
in its range. The Elkhoms are the only isolated mountain range east of the Continental Divide 
where this species is found. Given this unique situation, the distribution should be carefully 
mapped. 

Other species found during surveys, or for which historic locations are known, in the Elkhom 
Mountains on the HNF include the Spotted Frog and Common Garter Snake. Both of these 
species are also present in the main Rocky and/or the Big Belt Mountains. Substantial 



41 



populations of the Spotted Frog were found throughout the range; It was more commonly 
encountered than any other amphibian or reptile, though ironically it is one of the two C-2 
Candidate species present on the HNF. The Common Garter Snake is known from a single 
location. 

The Western Toad was collected along Prickley Pear Creek in Jefferson County in 1951. 
Whether or not this was located on the HNF is unknown; it was not located during our surveys. 
Perhaps the best chance of finding the Milk Snake on the HNF occurs in the southeastern 
Elkhoms, given a known site to the south near Three Forks and its secretive habits. It seem 
doubtful that the Tailed Frog is found in the Elkhom Mountains given the intensity of surveys 
(A. Harper, pers. comm.), and the surveyors specifically watching for the species, during the 
summer of 1995. 

Given the meager information available from this range, and the Western Toad (known to be 
declining) recorded from historic records but not relocated, all sightings of amphibians and 
reptiles are of interest from this range and should be recorded. More baseline distribution 
information, particularly for species not yet recorded and breeding sites for known species, is 
necessary before monitoring sites are chosen. 

Big Belt Mountains: The only species reported from the Big Belt Mountains on the HNF were 
the Spotted Frog, Racer, and Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. While Spotted Frogs appeared to 
be common and widespread in this range, they did appear more localized than in either the 
Elkhoms or main Rocky Mountains. The Racer was not found during our surveys; the only 
historic records for the Rocky Mountains on the HNF are from Davis (1963), which is a large- 
scale state map with dots which appear to fall on the Forest The Western Terrestrial Garter 
Snake was found at two locations and is probably wide-spread in the range. 

The Western Toad was collected historically just east of the HNF in the Big Belts, but was 
not located during our surveys. Perhaps the best chance of finding the Spiny Softshell or 
Woodhouse's Toad on the HNF occurs in the Missouri River, both have questionable historic , 
records there. Given the meager information available from this range, and at least one species 
known from historic records but not relocated, all sightings of amphibians (except perhaps 
Spotted Frogs) and reptiles are of interest and should be recorded. Even for Spotted Frogs any 
breeding locations found should be recorded. Such baseline distribution information is necessary 
before monitoring sites are chosen. 

Dry Range: No herps are known from this range; there are no historic specimen records and we 
did not survey in the range in 1995. Given the total lack of information available from this range, 
all sightings of amphibians and reptiles are of interest and should be recorded. Baseline 
distribution infonnatioii is necessary before monitoring sites are chosen. 



42 



RECOMMENDATIONS 

Surveys, Morjtoring jmd Research 

1) All incidental sightings of amphibians and reptiles from the HNF should be recorded and 
forwarded to the Natural Heritage Program, which is the central depository for amphibian survey 
and monitoring data from Montana in cooperation with the regional Declining Amphibian Task 
Force. For the Spotted Frog, only breeding locations are necessary to record. A half-day training 
session for biologists (including seasonal employees) and other interested field people in May 
would raise awareness of this data need, and provide the training required for accurate 
identification of animals observed. 

2) Special efforts should be made to increase our knowledge of the range and biology of those 
species which are either uncommon (Tailed Frog, Western Toad) or for which no records exist 
within the Forest (Western Chorus Frog, Woodhouse's Toad, Plains Spadefoot, Northern 
Leopard Frog, Painted Turtle, Spiny Softshell, Short-homed Lizard, Rubber Boa, Milk Snake, 
Gopher Snake, and Prairie Rattlesnake). One of the most efficient ways of accomplishing these 
objectives is to encourage individuals to fill out incidental sighting reports and submit them to 
the Montana Natural Heritage Program for entry into the species database. Certainly all Tailed 
Frogs (larvae and adults) found during fisheries surveys should be recorded; this is the most 
efficient way to get data on this species. 

3) Due to the time constraints and the large area covered in the 1995 survey, it should not be 
regarded as a definitive index of all the herptiles or their distribution on the HNF. The secretive 
habits of many amphibians and reptiles, and our lack of knowledge regarding their reproductive 
behavior makes it difficult to assess their overall status. We recommend that additional surveys 
be conducted, concentrating on: A) potential Western Toad and Northern Leopard Frog breeding 
sites; B) low-elevation, xeric habitats (including wetlands within this matrix) for reptiles and 
plains-dwelling amphibians; and C) gathering additional distribution information from the Big 
Belt, Elkhorn and Dry ranges. 

4) Begin a monitoring program, surveying the two known Western Frog breeding sites, and the 
beaver pond on a tributary of Beaver Creek where large numbers of Spotted Frogs and Long-toed 
Salamanders breed. This should be a twice-yearly monitoring, once in late spring to determine if 
breeding took place and once in mid-late summer to check if larva are successfully transforming. 
Monitoring of Tailed Frogs could be done in conjunction with fish monitoring by electro- 
shocking, when sites are more well known. When more breeding locations for amphibians are 
known in the Elkhoms and Big Belts, long-term monitoring of typical marsh-pond habitats 
should be set up at several sites in order to evaluate relative numbers and breeding success of the 
more common species: Long-toed Salamander, Spotted Frog, Western Toad, Western Terrestrial 
Garter Snake, and Common Garter Snake. Particular attention needs to be given to any Western 
Toad and Northern Leopard Frog breeding sites found. 



43 



5) Life history and ecology of the amphibians in Montana is poorly known for most species. 
Long-term monitoring will provide information on timing of, and habitat requirements needed 
for, successful breeding. 

6) We recommend that any areas that are under consideration for mining, road building* 
extensive logging operations, or other large-scale habitat altering activities be surveyed 
thoroughly for amphibian presence and breeding activity. Particular attention should be given 
documenting the presence of either Western Toads or Northern Leopard Frogs. This is 
particularly important for toads in higher elevation areas where the potential for UV damage is 
greater. 

Management 

1) With an increasing number of amphibian species declining for various reasons, it seems 
reasonable to pro-actively manage habitat to support them. While not all ways of preserving 
these species are currently known, several management activities could certainly negatively 
impact them. Without adequate breeding areas, amphibians cannot survive, and the types of 
water used is often species-specific. 

a) Fish stocking in currently Ashless lakes and ponds in which amphibians breed should be 
carefully evaluated. Fish introductions are thought to be a major factor in frog declines in 
the Sierra Nevada Mountains and probably elsewhere as well (Hayes and Jennings 1986). 

b) When "improving" springs or seeps for livestock, leave a portion of the area suitable for 
amphibian reproduction. This could include a small fenced-off area above where water is 
diverted for storage in a watering tank. 

c) Springs, seeps, and both permanent and temporary ponds should be considered when 
analyzing effects of land management activities such as grazing, logging, and road 
building. 

2) A critical component of the life cycle in snakes is the wintering den. Many species hibernate 
in large aggregations in traditionally-used sites. Often these hibemacula are used by several 
species, and mating for many species takes place at the den site. Snakes then move out for up to 
7 miles for the summer, returning in the fall. These sites are typically in areas where snakes can 
get well down into an area of fractured rock on south-facing slopes, often near cliffs or in talus. 
While these sites are robust, road building or mining may nonetheless destroy them. Den sites 
should be protected and data relating to their locations kept where successive biologists have 
access to them. 



44 



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46 



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50 



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52 



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53 



APPENDIX 1. 
DATA SHEETS USED FOR 

AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE 
SURVEYS AND OBSERVATIONS 



54 



II 

1*1% 
I! 

. - * 

Mi 



is is 



II 
sin 

*! I •= 

| « .3 J 

mi 



is It 

• a a I te 

HJi 

m T> m 

s Hi 

^ -n _S 

fill 

it 



I 



i 



w 1*8 "Si 

«g §-J8 O 3 

< a 2 « 1 



" ILi P- 



H 



1 HI' 'Hi ii ! 

Hum? 1 f ][ ji j i ! 
» 1 fHt s I t ] ■! i Hi 

ilii i H II II II I i 



iii 



lf)|| 




til 



III). 









nrillii 



-11*1 



I 






JtlS 



L 

l Sa*s 






g 



!• 



Uli 

Hi 
flllll . 









3* 

si 

il 

II 



■8 

I 



till 



■i 



Nil! i 

illil ' 

i • i 1 1 

J £ j £ & 

lillif 



14 



i 



l! 






IS 



^ 



u 



AMPHIBIAN SURVEY DATA SHEET . WN .i 



VWUDUK SfRVtCE, 4i« McMUMY AVt FT. COUJNS. CO MSM-MOO 



1st sfssfes voiaMss; 



(v*r. 2/7/92} 



DATE 



BEGIN 

time 



END 
TIME 



OBSERVERS 



tOCAUTY 



STATE 



COUNTY 



ELEVATION 



DESCRIPTION 



UTM 



NORTHING 
IwLATI 



EASTING 
l«LON» 



AMFHMAN AND/OR GARTER SNAKE SP 
iTE NUMBERS IN CATEGORIES IF 



ORCLE METHOD AND 
VOUCHER SPECIMEN WAS 



ADULTS/JUVENILES 



TADPOLES/LARVAE EGG MASSES 



METHOD: 



Y N 



VISUAL/AURAL D DN> NETA 
HAND COULECTED TRAPPED 
VOUCHER COUECTED? YES NO 



Y N 



VISUAL/AURAL D OtP NET/SEME 
HAND COLLECTED TRAPPED 
VOUCHER COUECTED? YES NO 



Y N 



VISUAL/AURAL B HP NET/SEME 
HAND COUECTED TRAPPED 
VOUCHER COUECTED? YES NO 



Y N 



VISUAL/AURAL D OP NET/ 
HAND COUECTED TRA*-PED 
VOUCHER COUECTED? YES NO 



Y N 



VISUAL/AURAL D O 

HAND COUECTED TRAPPED 

VOUCHER COUECTED? YES NO 



??? NO 



f NO. INDICATE 



M* OP HABITAT 



PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL ENVIRONMENT (CHEMISTRY VARIABLES OPTIONAL . USE EXTRA SPACES FOR ADDITIONAL MEASUREMENTS) 



WEATHER: 



OVERCAST 



UGHT 



WATER 



COLOR: 



CLEAR 



ST, 



CLEAR 



CLOUDY 



PH 



ANC 



OMT THIS SECTION 



- {SKETCH SITE AND PUT ADDITIONAL 
F DATA HAVE BEEN COUECTED ON A 



ON BACK OF SHEET) 
VISIT 



NATURAL 



OCCASIONAL 



STREAM 



LAKE/POND 



LAKE/POND 



ACTIVE 

BEAVER POND 



•(ACTIVE 



LENGTH IMS 



vmmm 



MAXIMUM DEPTH: 



< 1 I 



i -an 



> 2M 



STREAM ORDER 



B + 



PRIMARY SUBSTRATE: 



SN.T/MUO 



OTHER 



% OF POND LAKE MARGIN WITH 



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Natural Heritage Bare Animal Species Reporting Form 

TUs form is used to report a personal field sitting ©f a tare species tracked by the Montana Natural Heritage 
Program. It may also be used to summarise locations! Information from a published or unpublished report. Animal 
species tracked include those on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Threatened, Endangered or Candidate Lists, the 
U.S. Forest Service Sensitive List, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Species of Special Interest ©r 
Concern List, and the Heritage Program Animal Species of Special Concern List. The Heritage Program can provide 
a copy of the list upon request. For most bird species* only reports of confirmed breeding are requested. 

In order for this form to be processed, the sections preceded by two asterisks (••) must be completed. 

Send completed form to: Montana Natural Heritage Program, 1515 E 6th Am, PO Box 201800, Helena MT 59620. 

Scientific Nam e **Common Nam e 

Locations 

Location Map; A mapped location of the occurrence ehould accompany this form. The ideal format is to locate the 
site on a photocopied section of a USGS 7.5 minute topo map; Forest Service, BLM, or other maps may be used. Be 
sure to provide the name of the map. 

County; Townships Ranges___ Sections 



••Directions to Site: Describe in detail how to get to the site from a readily located permanent landmark such as a 
road intersection. __ , , 



Biology/Habitat 
••Date and Approximate Time of the Observation:. 



••Number of Individuals Observed: 

D 1-5 D 5-10 □ 11-50 D 51-100 □ 101-1000 Q > 1000 

If possible, provide the exact number of individuals: 

Life Stages Present: Check off the life stages observed or provide an estimate of the numbers of individuals for 
each life stage: 

egg s larva e immatur e adult femal e adult mal e adult, sex unknown__ 
Comments: , , , „ , , 

Additional Status Informations What else was observed? Provide information on the behavior of the species 
particularly that which oouM indicate ©r confirm breeding at the sit®. For birds this could include singing males, 
carrying nest material/food, dependant young observed, entry of adults into possible nesting cavity, etc 



Associated Species: list any associated species such as predators, prey, food plants, host species, or additional rare 
species observed at the site. 



Required Field 



Habitat Data: Describe the general area where the occurrence is located. list community types, dominant 
vegetation, and information on the physical environment such as substrate type, hydrology, moisture regime, slope, 
elevation, and aspect. Abo, if possible, provide information on the surrounding land use and extent of additional 
suitable habitat. 



Weather Conditions: 

Qdear D overcast Oealm D windy 
Describe temperature, precipitation, and other significant weather factors: 



Conservation! Are there any natural or human threats to this occurrence? Please describe. 



Ownership: If known, please provide landowner name, address and telephone number. 



Information Sources 
••Name, Address, and Telephone Number (of person filing report) 



••Does this information come from Q a field visit, □ a 2nd party observation, or Q a published or unpublished report? 



Citation: For information taken from a published or unpublished report, please provide a copy of the cover page and 
pertinent portions of the report. If a copy cannot be provided, list below the author, date, title, publisher, and page 
numbers. 



Voucher: Was the observation vouchered with Q a photograph? Q a specimen? 

If possible, attach a copy 6f the photograph. If specimen voucher, please provide the collection # and name of the 

repository: , .____—«____. — 



Identification: How was the species identification made? Was it based on a sighting, track, call, seat, road kill, etc.? 
Name the identification mamial(s) used or espert(s) consulted. Were there identification problems? 



Confirmation: Would you accompany a biologist to the site if needed? Dyes D »° 
Additional Comments: (use additional sheets if needed) 



Beq«tred Field 



I 
I 



APPENDIX 2. 

SITES SURVEYED DURING 1995 

AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILE SURVEYS 

ON THE 
HELENA NATIONAL FOREST 



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APPENDIX 3. 

AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES 

OBSERVED DURING SURVEYS OF THE 

HELENA NATIONAL FOREST 

IN 1995 



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APPENDIX 4. 
AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES 
REPORTED FROM IN AND AROUND THE 
HELENA NATIONAL FOREST 



66 



Natural Heritage Program 03/2 1/1 996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



LONG-TOED SALAMANDER 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 4/28/1962 No Museum Specimen 
2 mi. S. of East Helena on branch McClellen Creek 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 4/28/1962 No Museum Specimen 
S. of East Helena on Al Palmer Ranch 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 4/28/1962 Yes Museum Specimen 
2 mi. s. of East Helena on branch McClellen Creek 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 8/25/1959 No Museum Specimen 
Horse trough off McClellen Creek 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 7/ /1972 No Museum Specimen 
Near Clancy 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 5/15/1995 Yes Observation 
Mill Creek headwaters 

Jefferson <.5mile. 5/15/1995 Yes Observation 
Upper Willard Creek 

Jefferson <.5mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Observation 
Old beaver pond in upper Corral Gulch. 

Jefferson <.5mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Observation 
Large pond just below Park Lake 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 9/6/1995 Yes Observation 
Cliff Lake, Red Rock Drainage 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 7/13/1983 No Museum Specimen 
Upper Grizzly Gulch 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Observation 
Old beaver pond on tributary of Beaver Creek 

Lewis & Clark < .3 mile. 5/24/1995 Yes Observation 
Middle Copper Creek drainage in pond. 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 5/25/1995 Yes Observation 

Pond N. of Heart Lake 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Ponds on Austin Creek 



67 



Natural Heritage Program 03/2 1 / 1 996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



LONG-TOED SALAMANDER (continued) 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
Beaver ponds, Meadow Creek 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
Dog Creek beaver ponds 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 9/28/1995 No Observation 
Marysville 

Powell <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Lilly Lake 

Powell <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Mine shaft pond 

Powell <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
Bryan Creek Beaver Pond 

Powell <.5mile. 8/23/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 

Small pond off BLM road, Garnet Mountains 

Powell < .5 mile. 8/24/1995 Yes Observation 

Lower Chamberlain Meadows ca. 3/4 down, Garnet Mountains 

Powell <.5mile. 8/25/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Old oxbow at Blackfoot River, 1 mi. SW of Blackfoot Canyon Campground 



TAILED FROG 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / /1966 No Observation 
Tributary of Copper Creek, tributary of the Blackfoot River 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 7/5/1994 Yes Museum Specimen 

Falls Creek, crossing down to falls. 



WESTERN TOAD 

Broadwater > 10 miles. / /l 966 Yes Observation 
Near Canyon Ferry Reservoir, small spring in open ponderosa pine. 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil / / No Museum Specimen 
Little Belt Mountains, 1.2 miles N. (Hwy 89) of Kings Hill Pass, 7200 ft. 



68 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



WESTERN TOAD (continued) 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil / /1966 No Observation 
Kings Hill, 7000 ft 

Granite J to 5 mil 7/11/1977 Yes Museum Specimen 
V* mi W of Bearmouth, rest area off 1-90. 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 8/7/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Prickly Pear Creek 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Dog Creek beaver ponds 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 5/25/1995 No Observation 
McDonald Pass : 



Meagher > 10 miles. 8/4/1899 No Museum Specimen 
Deep Creek Canyon, Big Belt Mountains 

Meagher > 10 miles. 8/23/1919 No Museum Specimen 
Fort Logan, Camas Creek (4 mi S). 

Meagher .5 to 5 mil 8/20/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Sheep Creek near Jumping Creek Campgrounds 

Meagher .5 to 5 mil 8/24/1951 Yes Museum Specimen 
Adams Ranch, Sheep Creek 

Meagher .5 to 5 mil 8/ 6/1958 No Museum Specimen 
Lake Creek 

Meagher < .5 mile. 6/26/1995 No Observation 
Beaver ponds on Daniels Creek 

Powett <.5mile. 8/25/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Old oxbow at Blackfoot River, 1 mi. SW of Blackfoot Canyon Campground 

Powel .5 to 5 mfl 7/ 9/1995 No Observation 

30 mi. NW of Lincoln, Coopers Lake 



WOODHOUSE'S TOAD 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 11 9/1948 No Museum Specimen 
Mouth of Trout Creek, Missouri River 



69 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal AUas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



WESTERN CHORUS FROG 

Cascade 5 to 10 mil 6/7/1993 No Observation 
Chestnut Valley Sand hills 

Jefferson <.5mile. 8/20/1995 Yes Observation 

Jefferson Creek, Elkhom Mtns. In Cow Pond. 

Lewis & Clark < ,5 mile. 5/21/1995 No Observation 
Ca. 17 mi. S. of Augusta, on Wrangle Creek 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 5/25/1995 No Observation 
McDonald Pass i 



PLAINS SPADEFOOT 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil 8/31/1948 No Museum Specimen 
3 mi. S. of Cascade, Missouri River 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 6/ /1988 No Observation 
Dave Genter's house. 



NORTHERN LEOPARD FROG 

Broadwater <.5mile. 5/10/1993 No Observation 
Deepdale FAS. Directly E. across channel from Deepdale BE nest 

Broadwater .5 to 5 mil 8/13/1899 Yes Museum Specimen 
Townsend 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil 8/31/1948 No Museum Specimen 
3 mi. S. of Cascade, Missouri River 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil 8/12/1954 No Museum Specimen 
Spanish Coulee 

Granite .5 to 5 mil 7/27/1961 No Museum Specimen 
Lake Albacaulis 

Lewis & Clark <.5miSe. 7/ /l 993 No Observation 
very small riparian ponds along Dearborn River 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 8/11/1948 No Museum Specimen 
Wolf Creek 



70 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



NORTHERN LEOPARD FROG (coat) 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 5/25/1995 No Observation 
McDonald Pass ; 



Powell 5 to 10 mil // No Museum Specimen 
Deer Lodge National Forest, along Willow Creek 

Powell 5 to 10 mil II 3/1973 No Museum Specimen 
North Fork of Blackfoot River 



SPOTTED FROG 

Broadwater <.5mile. 5/17/1995 Yes Observation 
Big Belt Mountains, upper Dry Creek beaver complex. 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 5/29/1995 No Observation 
South Fork Crow Creek 

Broadwater <.5mUe. 5/17/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Big Belt Mountains; upper pond on Dry Creek 

Broadwater <.5mile. 7/12/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Avalanche Creek at Narytime Gulch, Big Belt Mountains 

Broadwater <.5mile. 7/12/1995 No Observation 
Middle Magpie Creek Beaver Pond, Big Belt Mountains 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 7/12/1995 Yes Observation 
Lake off of Springs Gulch, Big Belt Mountains 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 5/24/1995 Yes Observation 
Avalanche Creek 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil / / No Museum Specimen 
Little Belt Mountains, 1 2 miles N. of Kings Hill Pass 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil 612111913 No Museum Specimen 
North of Kings Hi Campground, Hwy. 89, Little Belt Mountains 

Cascade < .5 mile. 6/22/1995 Yes Observation 
Harley Park 

Cascade < .5 mile. 6/22/1995 No Observation 
O'Brien Creek headwaters/Lone Tree Park 



71 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



SPOTTED FROG (continued) 

Cascade <.5mile. 7/26/1995 Yes Observation 
Beaver ponds at head of Belt Creek. 

Granite .5 to 5 mil 4/ 9/1949 No Museum Specimen 
Drummond 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 7/8/1944 No Museum Specimen 
5milesW.ofBemice 

Jefferson 5 to 10 mil 7/30/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Prickly Pear 

Jefferson 5 to 10 mil 8/16/1949 No Museum Specimen 
Prickly Pear Creek 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 5/15/1995 Yes Observation 
Mill Creek headwaters 

Jefferson <.5mile. 5/15/1995 Yes Observation 
Upper Wiliard Creek 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Observation 
Old beaver pond in upper Corral Gulch. 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Observation 
Large pond just below Park Lake 

Jefferson <.5mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Smaller pond just below Park Lake 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 8/14/1995 No Observation 
on Little Boulder River just above Iron/Shield mine 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 7/10/1995 No Observation 
Kady Gulch 

Jefferson <.5mile. 9/6/1995 No Observation 
Clear Creek 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 9/5/1995 No Observation 
Moose Creek 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
0.3 mi. E. of Strawberry Butte 



72 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



SPOTTED FROG (continued) 

Jefferson <. 5 mile. 9/6/1995 No Observation 
Cliff Lake, Red Rock Drainage 

Judith Basin .5 to 5 mil 8/ 8/1944 No Museum Specimen 
12 miles S. of Neihart 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil / /1966 No Observation 
2.3 miles W. of Flasher Pass tributary of Blackfoot River 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 9/ 3/1994 No Observation 
Prickley Pear Creek just W. of Stansfield Lake. 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 7/27/1975 No Observation 
Pond, ca. 400 m from the main stack of East Helena Smelter. 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 7/27/1975 No Observation 
Ca. 1.6 km SSE from the East Helena Smelter in springs 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 7/27/1975 No Observation 
McClellan Creek Quarry Lake 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 5/22/1994 No Museum Specimen 
7-Up Pete Proposed Gold Mine area on HWY 200, ca. 10 mi. E. of Lincoln. 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Old beaver pond on tributary of Beaver Creek 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 5/20/1995 Yes Observation 
Pond 0.5 mi. w. of Chessman Reservoir. 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 5/24/1995 No Observation 
Copper Creek beaver pond near campgrounds. 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 5/24/1995 No Observation 
Middle Copper Creek drainage in pond. 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 5/25/1995 Yes Observation 
PondN. of Heart Lake 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
Ponds on Austin Creek 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 5/24/1995 No Observation 
Copper Creek 



73 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



SPOTTED FROG (continued) 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 8/31/1995 Yes Observation 
Poonnan Creek, before road leaves creek 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 8/31/1995 No Observation 
Upper Blackfoot River marshes 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
Beaver ponds, Meadow Creek 

Lewis & Clark <.5miie. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
Dog Creek beaver ponds 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 6/27/1995 No Observation 
S. of Park Lake 

Meagher .5 to 5 mil 6/ 1/1978 No Museum Specimen 
Dry Fork of Musselshell River 

Meagher < .5 mile. 5/29/1994 Yes Museum Specimen 
Crater Lake and ponds above, 5880 ft. 

Meagher <. 5 mile. 7/8/1994 No Observation 
W. fork Checkerboard Creek, Castle Mountains, 6200 ft. 

Meagher <.5mile. 7/9/1994 No Observation 
Onion Park, Little Belt Mountains, also sec. 5. 

Meagher .5 to 5 mil 8/ 6/1958 No Museum Specimen 
Lake Creek 

Meagher .5 to 5 mil 5/13/1950 No Museum Specimen 
Near Ringling Hot Well 

Meagher < .5 mile. 6/26/1995 No Observation 
Irrigation ditch below Wolsey Creek on Sheep Creek 

Meagher < .5 mile. 8/ 3/1995 No Observation 
N. Fork Eagle Creek 

Meagher < .5 mile. 8/15/1995 No Observation 
E. Fork Grasshopper Creek 

Meagher < .5 mile. 8/30/1995 No Observation 
Grasshopper Creek 



74 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetiie) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



SPOTTED FROG (continued) 

Powell .5 to 5 mil 7/21/1891 No Museum Specimen 
Elliston, near Little Blackfoot River 

Powell .5 to 5 mil 7/22/1891 N© Museum Specimen 

Deer Lodge, Cottonwood Creek 

Powell .5 to 5 mil / / No Museum Specimen 

Ovando, N. of Camp Lake 

Powell .5 to 5 mil / / No Museum Specimen 

Browns Lake 

Powell < .5 mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Lilly Lake 

Powell <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 
Beaver pond, Little Blackfoot 

Powell <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Mine shaft pond 

Powell <.5mile. 7/11/1995 No Observation 
Mine shaft pond 

Powell <.5mile. 7/11/1995 Yes Observation 

Bryan Creek Beaver Pond 

Powell <. 5 mile. 7/11/1995 No Observation 
Little Blackfoot River Beaver Dam 

Powell < .5 mile. 8/23/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Small pond off BLM road, Garnet Mountains 

Powell <.5mile. 8/24/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Lower Chamberlain Meadows ca. 3/4 down, Garnet Mountains 

Powell <. 5 mile. 8/31/1995 No Observation 
Pond off road, Sucker Creek 

Powell < .5 mile. 8/22/1995 No Observation 

Cottonwood Meadow, Garnet Mountains „ 

Powell < .5 mile. 8/22/1995 No Observation 

South side Old Baldy Mountain, Garnet Mountains 



75 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Date Type 



SPOTTED FROG (continued) 

Powell <. 5 mile. 8/31/1995 No Observation 

Pond off road, Sucker Creek 

Powell <.5mile. 8/25/1995 Yes Museum Specimen 
Old oxbow at Blackfoot River, 1 mi. SW of Blackfoot Canyon Campground 



PAINTED TURTLE 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 5/ /1993 No Observation 
Canyon Ferry WMA east side. 

Broadwater 5 to 10 mil // No Specimen Reported 
See map in Black 1970 

Broadwater <.5mile. 5/9/1995 No Observation 
Deepdale fishing access 

Granite .5 to 5 mil 6/ /1995 Yes Observation 
In pond by rest area along 1-90 near Bearmouth. 

Jefferson < .5 mile. 7/26/1995 No Observation 
Prickly Pear Road 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. / /1994 Yes Observation 
Spring Meadow Lake 

Powell .5 to 5 mil 9/7/1994 No Observation 
Lanrity Lake in Ovando Valley 

Powell .5 to 5 mil 9/ 8/1994 No Observation 

Evans Lake 

Powell 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 

See map in Black 1970 



SPINY SOFTSHELL 

Broadwater 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
Canyon Ferry Reservoir 



76 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



RUBBER BOA 

Broadwater 5 to 10 mil // No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Broadwater .5 to 5 mil 9/ /1957 No Museum Specimen 
Near Toston 

Gallatin .5 to 5 mil 8/1 1/1959 No Museum Specimen 
Middle Fork 16 Mile Creek 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 3/ /1949 No Museum Specimen 
Worth Ranch, Canyon Creek 

Lewis & Clark ,5 to 5 mil / /1994 No Observation 
Grizzly Gulch SSW of Helena 



RACER 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil // No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 5/20/1995 No Museum Specimen 
1.5 mi. ESE of Sieben Ranch 



77 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



GOPHER SHAKE 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 5/21/1994 No Observation 
Hwy. 12 between Helena and Townsend 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 8/30/1995 No Observation 
Whites Creek 

Cascade 5 to 10 mil 7/ 6/1993 No Observation 
Chestnut Valley Sandhills 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 10/15/1982 No Museum Specimen 
Junction Sheep and Little Prickly Pear Creeks 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 5/24/1941 No Museum Specimen 
Wolf Creek 

Lewis* Clark .5 to 5 mil 7/28/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Prickly Pear Creek 

WESTERN TERRESTRIAL GARTER 

Broadwater .5 to 5 mil 9/ /1962 No Museum Specimen 
W. of Winston 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 7/12/1995 No Observation 
Lake off of Springs Gulch, Big Belt Mountains 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 5/29/1995 No Observation 
Deepdale Fishing Access Site 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 7/12/1995 No Observation 
FS RD 359 along Avalanche Creek between McGregor and Spilling Gulch 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 10/15/1995 No Museum Specimen 
Indian Road Recreation Area, just N of Townsend 

Gallatin 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Granite 5 to 10 mil 10/31/1944 No Museum Specimen 
Rock Creek 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 7/30/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Prickly Pear Creek 



78 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



WESTERN TERRESTRIAL GARTER (continued) 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 7/30/1951 N© Museum Specimen 
Prickley Pear 

Jefferson .5 to 5 mil 4/28/1962 No Museum Specimen 
S. of East Helena on Al Palmer Ranch 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 7/20/1891 No Museum Specimen 
12 miles E of Helena on McClellen Creek 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil // No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 7/27/1975 No Observation 
Pond, ca. 400 m from the main stack of East Helena Smelter. 

Lewis* Clark <.5mile. 7/27/1975 No Observation 
Where Prickly Pear Creek flows along slag pile at East Helena Smelter. 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 7/27/1975 No Observation 
McClellan Creek Quarry Lake 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 6/30/1949 No Museum Specimen 
Prickly Pear Creek 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 9/10/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Prickley Pear Creek 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 9/10/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Prickley Pear Creek 

Lewis* Clark .5 to 5 mil 8/ /1994 Yes Observation 
Little Prickly Pear Creek N. of Helena 

Lewis* Clark <.5mile. 7/5/1995 No Observation 
Helens 

Lewis & Clark < .5 mile. 8^0/1995 No Observation 
Falls Creek 

Lewis* Clark .5 to 5 mil 5/25/1995 No Observation 
McDonald Pass area 

Madison .5 to 5 mil / /1994 No Observation 
Little Blackfoot River W. of Avon 



79 



Natural Heritage Program 03/2 1/1 996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



WESTERN TERRESTRIAL GAETER (continued) 

Meagher 5 to 10 mil 8/22/1919 No Museum Specimen 
Fort Logan, Camas Creek, (4 mi S) 

Meagher < .5 mile. 8/30/1995 No Observation 
Grasshopper Creek 

Powell > 10 miles. 7/31/1967 No Museum Specimen 
Norm Fork of the Blackfoot River 

Powell > 10 miles. 7/3/1973 No Museum Specimen 
North Fork of me Blackfoot River 

Powell < .5 mile. 6/ /1950 No Specimen Reported 
Cottonwood Creek 

Powell .5 to 5 mil 67 6/1 950 No Museum Specimen 
0.5 mi. above mouth of Cottonwood Creek 

Powell <.5mile. 8/31/1995 No Observation 

Road past Stemple Pass 



COMMON GARTER SNAKE 

Broadwater < .5 mile. 9/25/1995 No Observation 
Eureka Creek 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil 9/6/1994 No Observation 
Schrammeck Lake 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis* Clark 5 to 1© mil 7/30/1951 No Museum Specimen 
Prickly Pear Creek 

Powell .5 to 5 mil / /1994 No Observation 

N. ofOvando 

Powell < .5 mile. 8/ 3/1995 No Observation 
Ontario Creek 



80 



Natural Heritage Program 03/21/1996 

Montana Animal Atlas (Herpetile) Species Report 

County Precision Date Breed Data Type 



WESTERN RATTLESNAKE 

Cascade .5 to 5 mil / /1 927 No Museum Specimen 
Cascade 

Gallatin 5 to 10 mil / / No Specimen Reported 
See map in Davis 1963 

Lewis & Clark .5 to 5 mil 7/28/1949 No Museum Specimen 
Wirth Ranch 

Lewis & Clark <.5mile. 8/ /1995 No Observation 
Melony Bruhn's house 



81 



i 



I 

I 



APPENDIX 5. 

NOTES ON HARLEQUIN SURVEYS 

AND EXAMINATION OF POTENTIAL 

NORTHERN BOG LEMMING HABITAT 

ON THE HELENA NATIONAL FOREST 



oZ 



Appendix 5. Notes on harlequin surveys and examination of potential northern bog 
lemming habitat on the Helena National Forest. 

Northern Bog Lemmings. All sites surveyed for amphibians and reptiles were also 
examined for their potential suitability as northern bog lemming (Synaptomys borealis) 
habitat. None examined seemed suitable. Particular attention was given Indian 
Meadows, however no extensive moss mats were found. There may be small pockets of 
suitable habitat within this large wetland complex which were missed, as only about 4 
hours were spent exploring the area, and the water level was very high. Summaries of 
current knowledge of Montana distribution and habitat is available (Reichel 1996, 
Reichel and Beckstrom 1994). 

Harlequin Ducks were surveyed on the Landers Fork of the Blackfoot River, 
Copper Creek, and the East Fork of the North Fork Blackfoot River (Table A5. 1). None 
were found on the Helena National Forest,, however one pair was located near North Fork 
Falls, less than a mile below HNF lands on the Lolo NF. It seems likely that ducks will 
be found to use the East Fork of the North Fork on the HNF. It was surprising that no 
ducks were located on the Landers Fork given the apparently good habitat and lack of 
disturbance on that stream. I would recommend that 1-2 additional surveys during pair 
season (1 May to 1 June) be done before a final conclusion that ducks are not currently 
present is reached. The section above which we surveyed was not accessible; high water 
made crossing the river impossible and cliffs on both sides of the river made walking the 
river also impossible. It is unknown at this time if the section above is boatable and may 
be surveyed that way. Given the easy access to Copper Creek and the amount of the 
stream surveyed, it seems doubtful that this stream currently has harlequins present; I 
would not recommend resurveying it at this time without unless either: 1) harlequins 
ducks are reported in the Copper Creek-Landers Fork drainage; or 2) major land 
management activities are planned in the drainage. Statewide Harlequin survey data is 
currently being summarized and will be available soon (Reichel and Genter, in prep.), as 
will a Conservation Assessment and Strategy for the U.S. Rocky Mountains (Cassirer et 
a!., in review). 



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Appendix 6. Heritage program species ranking definitions. 

Taxa are evaluated and ranked by the Heritage Program on the basis of their global (range-wide) status, and 
their state-wide status. These ranks are used to determine protection and data collection priorities, and are 
revised as new information becomes available. 

A scale of 1 (critically imperiled) to 5 (demonstrably secure) is used for these ranks, and each species is 
assigned the appropriate combination of global and state ranks. 

Example: common loon = G5 / S3 (i.e., species is demonstrably secure globally; in Montana is found within a 
restricted range). 

Global and state ranks are assigned according to a standardized procedure used by all Natural Heritage 
Programs, and are defined below. 

Global/State 

Rank Definition (q ■ Range-wide; S ■ Montana) 

Gl SI Critically imperiled because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer 

occurrences, or very few remaining individuals) , or because of some 
factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable to extinction. 

G2 S2 Imperiled because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences) , or because of other 

factors demonstrably making it very vulnerable to extinction 
throughout its range. 

G3 S3 Either very rare and local throughout its range, or found locally 

(even abundantly at some of its locations) in a restricted range, or 
vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other 
factors,- in the range of 21 to 100 occurrences. 

G4 S4 Apparently secure, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, 
especially at the periphery. 

G5 S5 Demonstrably secure, though it may be quite rare in parts of its 
range, especially at the periphery. 

GU SXJ Possibly in peril, but status uncertain; more information needed. 

GH SH Historically known; may be rediscovered. 

GX SX Believed to be extinct; historical records only, continue search. 



Other codes ; 

A Accidental in the state; including species (usually birds or butterflies) 

recorded very infrequently, hundreds ©r thousands of miles outside their usual 
range. 

B A state rank modifier indicating breeding status for a migratory species. 
Sxampl*? S1B,SZN -- breeding occurrences for the species are ranked SI 
{critically imperiled) in the state, nonbreeding occurrences are not ranked in 
the state. 

E An exotic established in the state? may be native in nearby regions. 

HYB Element represents a hybrid of species. 

N A state rank modifier indicating non-breeding status for a migratory species. 
Examples S1B,SZN -- breeding occurrences for the species are ranked SI 
(critically imperiled) in the state, nonbreeding occurrences are not ranked in 
the state. 

P Indicates the element may potentially occur in the state. 

Q Taxonomic questions or problems involved, more information needed; appended to 
the global rank. 

R Reported in the state; but lacking documentation which would provide a basis for 
either accepting or rejecting the report. 

T Rank for a subspecific taxon (subspecies, variety, or population) ; appended to 
the global rank for the full species. 

Z Ranking not applicable. 

# A modifier to SX or SH; the species has been reintroduced but the population is 
not yet breeding and established. 

TJSFfcWS (USBSA) Status: The codes in this column denote the categories defined in the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service Notices of Review (1990, 1993, 1994), and indicate the status of 
a taxon with respect to the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973: 

E/SA Treat as endangered because of similarity of appearance. 

LE Endangered 
LT Threatened 

P Proposed E or T 

CI Notice of Review, Category 1 (substantial biological information on file to 

support the appropriateness ©f proposing to list as endangered or threatened) . 

86 



C2 Notice of Review, Category 2 (current information indicates that proposing to 
list as endangered or threatened is possibly appropriate, but substantial 
biological information is not on file to support an immediate ruling) . 

C2* Category 2, and the taxon is possibly extinct. 

3A Taxa for which the USFWS has persuasive evidence of extinction. 

3B Names that, on the basis of current taxonomic understanding, do not represent 
taxa meeting the Endangered Species Act's definition of "species." 

3C Taxa that have proven to be more abundant or widespread than was previously 
believed, and/or those that are not subject to any identifiable threat. 

NL Not listed/no designation. (See note below.) 

XN Nonessential experimental population. 

Not«i A species can have more than one federal designation if the species' status 
varies within its range. In these instances the Montana designation is listed first. 

Examples; bald eagle ■ LELT. Species is Listed Endangered in Montana; elsewhere in 
its range it may be Listed Threatened. 

trumpeter swan - C2NL. Species is a Category 2 in Montana; elsewhere in its range 
it may not have USF&WS designation. 

common tern - NLC2. Species has no USF&WS designation in Montana; elsewhere in 
its range it may be a Category 2. 

OSFS Status s The status of species in Montana as defined by the U.S. Forest Service 
manual (2670.22) . These taxa are listed as such by the Regional Forester (Northern 
Region) on Montana National Forests. 

State Status s These codes give the state legal status of vertebrates as listed in the 
1989 Statutes of Montana for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 

GA =» game animal 

6F • game fish 

FB - fur bearing animal Management Status: 

MB ■ migratory bird 

UB ■ upland game bird CD ■ closed season 

E » endangered RH » restricted harvest 

NG • nongame wildlife 

P » protected species 

U m unprotected species 



8?